Assault with a Deadly Weapon: Mental Health Diversion

In several recent cases where clients were charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon (commonly called ADW) under Penal Code section 245, we have been successful in getting courts to grant Mental Health Diversion under Penal Code section 1001.36. Diversion is a process where we delay a criminal case while the defendant gets treatment or fulfills other conditions. After the defendant completes treatment, then the court dismisses the criminal case. That’s right – Case Dismissed!

Mental Health Diversion in an Assault with a Deadly Weapon case

What is Assault with a Deadly Weapon in California?

In California, the government can charge people with Assault with a Deadly Weapon under a wide variety of circumstances. The “weapon” involved can be a firearm, a knife, a hammer, a fist, or anything else. Sometimes, there is no weapon at all, and the case is charged as an assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. Depending on the subsection, a case for violating section 245 has a maximum sentence of up to 4, 9, or 12 years in state prison.

Frequently, the government charges people experiencing addiction or mental health issues with these kinds of assault charges. We have seen these charges in neighbor disputes, road rage incidents, domestic violence cases, and more. The good news is that Mental Health Diversion is an option for getting Assault with a Deadly Weapon cases dismissed.

The Mental Health Diversion Process

Getting the court to grant Mental Health Diversion is a complicated process. First, we gather records from any prior mental health treatment. Then, we have the client evaluated by a mental health professional to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Once we receive the report from the evaluator, then we draft a motion explaining how the client meets that legal criteria for diversion. Next, we attend the hearing, counter the prosecutor’s objections, and convince the judge to grant diversion.

The judge then sets the terms of diversion, which usually align with what the evaluator recommended. Terms of Mental Health Diversion in an Assault with a Deadly Weapon case can vary widely. The terms typically include outpatient treatment, therapy, medication management with a psychiatrist, anger management classes, and substance abuse meetings (AA or NA).

Mental health diagnoses that support diversion can include depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, schizophrenia, substance abuse disorders, or any other mental health condition listed in the DSM.

After the judge grants diversion, we will attend progress report hearings every few months until the case is dismissed. In a felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon case, the judge usually sets the diversion period at 24 months. During that time, we go to court roughly every three months to show that the client is on track with treatment. Sometimes, if everything looks good, the judge will terminate diversion early and dismiss the case.

How We Can Help

We are a criminal defense law firm based in Torrance, California. Our firm represents clients in court in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, and beyond. We work with a great team of experts to get clients the best possible results. Our team connects clients with mental health resources that the courts respect. This leads to a very high success rate in our diversion motions. We have persuaded many judges to grant Mental Health Diversion to clients accused of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.

If you or a loved one are charged with Assault with a Deadly Weapon, please give us a call to discuss the case at 323.529.3660.