Criminal behavior can sometimes be the result of a mental illness. In fact, nearly 15% of men and 30% of women booked into jail have a serious mental health condition. Many individuals suffering from mental illness do not receive the treatment they need, stay longer than their counterparts without mental illness and may be victims of violence. Fortunately, there are mental health treatment programs that can help individuals with mental health issues who are facing criminal charges.
Over 2 million people suffering from mental illness are arrested and jailed each year. Though crimes committed by individuals suffering from mental illness may vary, common criminal charges include:
Crimes related to violence, such as assault, battery, stalking and domestic abuse.
Property crimes, such as trespassing and vandalism.
Sexual crimes that involve battery and abuse.
California has a “Mental Health Diversion” program which allows some mentally ill criminal defendants to receive mental health treatment when they have been accused of committing a crime. Pretrial diversion allows a mentally ill criminal defendant to postpone his or her case in order to participate in a treatment program. Diversion can be requested at any point in a criminal case prior to final sentencing.
If a defendant successfully completes the pretrial diversion treatment program, the charges against the defendant will be dismissed. The record of the arrest is then sealed, meaning it will be as if the arrest had never happened.
Both misdemeanor and felony defendants can be considered for mental health diversion, but a court can only approve a program of treatment if certain conditions have been met.
The first step toward your fresh start is to call Mills Law and schedule your free consultation. You’ll need to bring certain information. During this appointment you’ll meet with David Mills to talk about your concerns, goals, and the details of your financial situation. Based on your assets, liabilities, income and your objectives, we’ll help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you and, if so, what type (or chapter) of bankruptcy will most help you.
At this point you’ll receive a list of additional information to gather and an outline of the steps needed in order to prepare for bankruptcy filing. We’ll also discuss the cost of the bankruptcy case so that you can make an informed decision.
Once you’ve provided all the needed information we can prepare the required documents for Bankruptcy Court, which you will carefully review to make sure everything is accurate, truthful, and complete. Once you’ve finished this step, your case gets filed.At that point, the automatic stay stops your creditors from calling, writing, or trying to collect from you. The court appoints a trustee to oversee your case and sets up a meeting between you and this trustee. Rest assured you won’t be alone as Mills Law will be with you each and every step along the way. Mr. Mills will attend this meeting where the trustee will ask you a series of questions to make sure the information you’ve provided is honest and accurate.
Once you complete the requirements of the Bankruptcy Court, you’ll receive the discharge, which is the forgiveness of debt, and your case will soon be closed allowing your life to move forward with a clean slate.
When preparing for you free consultation with Mr. Mills, please bring the following documents to help us better understand your picture. If you can’t find all of these items, don’t let that discourage you from coming in. Often we can provide guidance on where this information can be obtained:
1. The most recent bill or statement from each creditor
2. All letters from collection agencies or lawyers
3. Any papers relating to a lawsuit
4. The past 6 months of paystubs
5. The past 2 years of tax returns
5. State ID (such as a driver’s license) and your Social Security card
6. A list of real estate and automobiles you own
Although this is not a complete list of what’s needed should you choose to pursue bankruptcy, it serves as a starting place to help us make an initial analysis of how we can provide the help you need.
If you’ve been making a lot of late payments, or not paying some debts at all, then your credit score has probably already taken a hit, and there’s likely nowhere to go from here but “up.” Bankruptcy will show up on your credit report for up to 10 years, but ask yourself how long it will take you to dig out of the financial hole you’re in if you don’t file? Getting your debts forgiven in bankruptcy can give you some breathing room and a chance to finally get your feet back on solid ground.
Perhaps it seems ironic, but filing for bankruptcy protection costs money. There are court filing fees, trustee administration fees, attorney fees, credit counseling fees, etc. After learning about the costs involved, some who could benefit from bankruptcy protection may end up wondering, “Can I afford to file bankruptcy?” In a good number of cases where bankruptcy is appropriate, the answer is “yes.” If bankruptcy protection would be beneficial in your case, your bankruptcy attorney can advise you on how to afford it.
Bankruptcy gives many people the opportunity for a financial fresh start. When you work with us, we review your financial situation, look at the options that are available and determine the course of action that best addresses your financial situation.
For many people that is filing Chapter 7, for others it may be Chapter 13 and finally some people are not well served by the bankruptcy process.
After your free initial consultation you will be required to take the means test.The Means Test is a tool that the Bankruptcy court uses to determine if you qualify to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. This test uses a complex formula to compare your income, expenses and family size to the median income of similar North Carolina households.
For income levels below state median you will qualify for Chapter 7. Even if your income is above the state median income you may still qualify for Chapter 7 after a detailed analysis of your financial situation. For people with income above the state median income Chapter 13 may be an option to provide considerable debt relief.
"From the first phone call to the final resolution, Jennifer was proactive, professional, compassionate and effective. If you are looking for one of the best attorneys in SoCal, I strongly suggest reaching out to Jennifer"
“Professional, conscientious and positive throughout the experience. She would always return e-mails and phone calls promptly, and even went to the physical location of my citation and printed out a google map of the landscape to understand the situation more thoroughly. Highly reocmmended.”
“Jennifer is an incredible defense attorney. She advocates for her clients in a way that is both zealous and compassionate. She takes the time to counsel her clients so that they truly understand their options.”
“Working with Jennifer Gerstenzang is an absolute delight. Her passion for, and dedication to helping her clients achieve the most desirable outcome is inspiring. Not only is she brilliant, but she truly cares about her clients and makes sure they are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve..”
"When I needed laser legal focus through coaching Jennifer was there to help. Her professionalism and caring attitude for her clients is remarkable. I highly recommend this talented legal professional!"