DC Lawyer explains Mental Health Court in DC

What is Mental Health Court in Washington, DC. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Mark Rollins, an attorney here in Washington, DC. I practice with the law firm of Rollins & Chan. Today, we’re going to be discussing what is meant by mental health court in DC. Mental health court in DC is a problem solving court. It focuses on individuals that have mental health issues that have been involved with the criminal justice system. In order to get into mental health court, three requirements must be met. One, the case must be approved by the prosecutor of the United States Attorneys Office. Two, you must be approved by pre- trial services, the agency that supervises individuals for the court. And three, you must have a bona fide mental health issue, such as bipolar or schizophrenic, one of those issues. How to get into mental health court; what happens is that whether a misdemeanor or a felony, the lawyer who identifies the issues will present that to the prosecutor and request that the case be screened for mental health court. After the case is screened for mental health court and the prosecutor approves it, the case will then be certified to the mental health calendar. Once it’s certified to the mental health calendar, if it’s a misdemeanor, it would meet on the days the misdemeanor cases meet, which is Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 2:00, 2:45, or 3:15. If it’s a felony case and the case is certified to mental health court, then the case would be seen at 10:00 on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday, 10:00 a.m. Then, coming into mental health court, the individuals, if they have a misdemeanor case, they will be placed on the deferred prosecution agreement. That is, an agreement that for four months you agree to comply with all conditions set by the court and set by the agreement which basically says that the individual will comply with the mental health services. There will be reviews every 30 days, and after four reviews, four months, on that deferred prosecution agreement, as long as the person is in compliance, the case will be dismissed. Now if it’s a felony and the case is on the mental health calendar, then the government will enter a plea, what they call amended 27 agreement, and they will allow the individual to plead guilty to the charges, and if they complete the terms of the agreement, in four months the government will allow the person to plead to the lesser included offense, usually a misdemeanor, under the amended sentencing agreement. Now I hope that helps, and if you have further questions, you can feel free to contact my office, and we’ll discuss in more details what mental health court is, and whether you’re a good candidate for it. Please feel free to keep subscribing to our videos, and thanks for watching.