Talk with a Ventura Criminal Defense Attorney
mental illness can be very difficult, especially where an individual is charged with
a criminal act.
Mr. Welch has extensive,in-depth
mental health courts and with assisting those with
mental illness in a number of situations.
Mental Illness as a Defense
You may have heard the term “insanity defense” used to describe
a situation where someone who has committed avoids punishment because
they were insane when they committed the crime.In California, someone
who has committed a crime may receive a verdict of “not guilty by
reason of insanity” (
NGRI). However, that does not mean they may simply walk away. Typically, an
NGRI verdict actually results in lengthy commitment in a treatment facility
following the trial. An
NGRI defense is extremely complex, but it is often appropriate—and our
criminal lawyers in Ventura are more than ready to help!
In California, any person who is a danger to him/herself or to others because of a
mental disorder or a grave disability can be placed in a psychiatric hospital for a 72-hour
treatment and evaluation. 72-hour-holds are typically initiated when
law enforcement is called in and believes that
mental illness is an issue. During a 72-hour hold the person who is the subject of the
hold will be brought to a psychiatric facility and will be evaluated.
Although it is commonly called a 72 hour hold, the hold can only extend
beyond 24 hours if the evaluating
psychiatrist believes the person continues to be a danger to themselves or to others.
At this stage, the person being held does not have the right to speak
with an attorney.
After a 72-hour-hold the evaluating
psychiatrist may determine that the individual is still a danger to himself or others,
and therefore should be held for further treatment. If he or she does
not wish to stay for further treatment, a hearing is held to determine
whether an additional 14-day hold is appropriate. At this hearing an attorney
may represent the person being held. If you or someone you love is in
this situation make sure the attorney you contact has experience dealing
with mental health cases in particular. An attorney like Mr. Welch will
be familiar with various psychiatric conditions or medications.
Additional Involuntary Commitment
Additional involuntary commitment is possible, but most of the time an
involuntary commitment longer than 47 days will require a conservatorship
Courts will impose a conservatorship arrangement only if it is demonstrated
beyond a reasonable doubt that the person in question is “gravely
disabled” – in other words, unable to care for their own basic
needs – or if they are a danger to themselves or others.
After a conservatorship is established, it may be renewed annually. Each
year the person on conservatorship (conservatee) may request a review
of their conservatorship. An attorney may help the conservatee at this time.
Contact the Law Office of Christopher P. Welch today to find out more about conservatorships.