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Often individuals who are accused of crimes suffer from a mental illness. Attorney Kopelman is an experienced mental health lawyer that will evaluate whether your mental illness will give rise to a defense in your case. If the crime charged requires specific intent, your mental illness can play a role in whether you formed that intent. If you did not or could not form the intent required, then you can not be convicted of the charged crime. 


Your mental illness may give rise to an insanity defense. As your lawyer, Ms. Kopelman will evaluate your case to see if at the time of the offense because of your mental illness, you were illegally insane.  If you are found to be legally insane you would be hospitalized rather than sent to prison.


Additionally, some people are so severely mentally ill that they are unable to assist in their defense and therefore are not competent to stand trial.  In these circumstances, you would be sent to a hospital to undergo treatment to restore your competency so that you can then fight your case. 

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Participating in a Mental Health Diversion Program

In California, judges have the authority to send individuals who are suffering from specific mental illnesses to participate in a pretrial diversion program so that they can get treatment rather than be criminally prosecuted.  If the program is successfully completed the charges will be dismissed. Most diagnosable mental illnesses qualify for mental health diversion (i.e.; schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder and most other illnesses listed in the DSM). However, if you are diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder or pedophilia you will not qualify. Attorney Kopelman along with a psychologist or psychiatrist will evaluate whether you are a good candidate for mental health diversion. If the evaluating doctor believes you fit the criteria, then he or she will make a recommendation to the court. Ultimately the court will decide whether to permit you to participate in the diversion program.

There is also a pretrial diversion program for veterans or current members of the military who are charged with a misdemeanor and as a result of their military service is suffering from PTSD, sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse or other mental health problems.  If you successfully complete the program your charges will be dismissed. Learn more about military diversion when you call today.

Call Today to See if You Can Work with a Collaborative Court

In Orange County as well as in many other counties, collaborative courts have been set up to help individuals who may have underlying issues that have contributed to their criminal case.  These courts work with a team of individuals from various agencies around the county such as probation, health care and social services.  The goal of these collaborative courts is to address the underlying condition that brought you to the criminal justice system.  Several examples of collaborative courts are DUI Court, Homeless Court and Recovery Court. Ms. Kopelman will discuss with you whether it would be beneficial for you to participate in one of these courts and whether you would qualify.

If you would like to further discuss your case with a mental health advocacy lawyer, reach out to Ms. Kopelman today. 

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Our Clients' Testimonials

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Felecia Sharpe
5/18/2019 - Google

Atty Lisa is a very calm confident steady force involving legal assistance. I would recommend Atty Lisa to... read more

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Maricruz Rodriguez
5/18/2019 - Google

My experience with lisa as my attorney is nothing but amazing. From the very first day i called crying not... read more

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janice chieffo
3/18/2019 - Google

Lisa is devoted to her clients and dedicated to pursuing justice on their behalf. She is a fierce warrior and... read more

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