Ventura Restoration of Sanity Attorneys
Helping Clients Battling Mental Illness Safely Reenter Their Communities
Criminal cases heard in mental health courts will result in substantially different sentencing than those of typical proceedings. One such result for a defendant is “not guilty by reason of insanity,” in which the defending counsel has successfully argued that a severe mental illness led to the criminal offense and that the defendant was not aware their behavior constituted a criminal offense. In these instances, the defendant will be typically sent to a state-run mental hospital for treatment in lieu of incarceration or other punitive consequences.
To be released from a treatment center, a defendant will need to petition the court for a restoration of sanity. When restoration of sanity is granted, an individual previously ruled insane will be considered no longer dangerous and thus able to transition back into the community. Navigating restoration of sanity matters can require an extensive knowledge of the law and careful legal strategy. Our Ventura restoration of sanity lawyers at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP can help guide you or a loved one through each step of this process and fight for your right to reassimilate. We have over 50 years of combined experience and have devoted much of our practice to mental health law and advocating for the rights of those struggling with mental illness.
When Restoration of Sanity Is Necessary
An individual struggling with a serious mental health condition may not be fit to stand trial. If someone is unable to comprehend the nature of the charges against them or work with their legal representation in building their case, they lack the competency necessary to undergo traditional criminal proceedings. A sanity hearing will likely be held to determine your fitness, and your case could be consequently heard in a mental health court, instead. This alternate court proceeding may result in your being committed to a mental health facility to treat the conditions that contributed to the offense, which is likely to be far more productive than a traditional jail sentence.
The entire point of placing someone in mandatory treatment is to give them the opportunity to get the care and support they need. Mandated institutionalization is not meant to be permanent. Ultimately, the goal is for the individual to get healthy enough to the point where they can safely reenter society. Just as someone serves their sentence in prison and then returns to the community, a person undergoing specialized treatment for their mental illness should eventually rejoin their peers once they are ready.
Robust medical support focused on treating the symptoms that resulted in a criminal offense can oftentimes be successful. This can lead to situations where an individual’s mental competency has been restored well before your court sentencing has been completed.
It is often challenging to prove your sanity has been restored to the satisfaction of the court. You will likely need to have undergone at least a year of treatment before you can attempt to argue your case.
Once you are confident your mental condition has responded to treatment and you are ready to rejoin society, you will likely the assistance of qualified legal representation experienced in handling these types of cases. Our Ventura restoration of sanity attorneys can help you petition the court to restore your sanity, which will require building a robust defense that demonstrates the success of your continuing treatment.
The court must also be convinced through a preponderance of evidence that you no longer pose a threat to yourself or the rest of your community. To accomplish this, they will carefully evaluate your mental state, review medical records, and hear testimony from the healthcare professionals responsible for treating you.
If the court is satisfied with the presented case, they may agree to formally restore your sanity and modify your civil commitment. This will typically involve supervised release, with regular check-ins to track progress. Understand that this does not mean your sentence has necessarily been commuted, but you will be able to begin your transition back into society through daily outpatient programs and other forms of supervision.
Navigating the restoration of sanity process is not a simple or easy task. Our Ventura restoration of sanity lawyers at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP are experienced in petitioning and arguing cases involving individuals who have successfully treated mental illnesses and are ready to rejoin the community. We are familiar with what mental health courts look for in these matters and can help you build a robust case.
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