Mental conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect every part of your life, sometimes leading to actions you would otherwise avoid or even an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI). A diagnosis may also shift the outcome of your legal claim after an arrest.
You can find out how PTSD can impact your DUI case with a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. In some cases, a PTSD diagnosis may allow you to take advantage of a diversion program in California, helping you avoid a conviction.
Will PTSD Impact Your DUI Case in Los Angeles?
PTSD can have significant effects on your actions. The court system in California understands the tremendous impact of this condition and takes your mental health into consideration if you face charges for a DUI.
In this situation, you may qualify for California’s mental health diversion program under Penal Code 1001.36. This pretrial diversion program allows you to avoid a DUI conviction if you seek treatment for your condition instead.
The court may drop your DUI charges if you receive successful treatment for your PTSD after up to two years in a treatment program. Therefore, a diversion program can help you avoid jail time, fines, and the loss of your license.
Do You Qualify for the Mental Health Diversion Program?
You may qualify for the mental health diversion program in California in specific circumstances. In order to qualify, you must have a mental health condition (including PTSD), and your condition must play a major role in your DUI arrest.
Additionally, you may only qualify if:
- A mental health team believes you will respond well to treatment
- You will waive your right to receive a speedy trial
- You accept all the requirements and terms of the diversion program
- The court believes you will not pose an unreasonable danger to public safety
Individuals in the mental health diversion program must follow all treatment requirements to stay in the program. If you end up leaving the program before you complete your treatment, you may face deferred criminal DUI charges.
Does the Mental Health Diversion Program Apply to Felony DUI Charges?
You may qualify for the mental health diversion program if you suffer from PTSD and face either misdemeanor or felony DUI charges.
A conviction for either misdemeanor or felony charges can have serious consequences for your life, including incarceration, fines, and a license suspension. Going through the diversion program can help you avoid these penalties.
Are There Other Diversion Programs if You Have PTSD?
California also has a diversion program for current or former members of the military facing misdemeanor charges. Under Cal. Pen. Code § 1001.80, you may qualify for this program if you experience PTSD and face DUI charges.
A lawyer can review your situation and help you determine if you qualify for this diversion program and if it represents the best choice for your situation.
Do You Have to Join a Diversion Program After a DUI?
Joining a diversion program can help you avoid a DUI conviction and may provide you with the necessary treatment for PTSD or other mental conditions. Therefore, many drivers find these programs a valuable resource after a DUI arrest.
However, diversion programs may not represent the best choice for every individual. A lawyer can review your situation and present you with additional options in some cases. For example, your attorney may suggest:
- Getting your charges reduced
- Having your charges dismissed
- Representing you in court
Lawyers investigate all the facts around a DUI arrest in Los Angeles and offer comprehensive assistance.
Does a PTSD Diversion Program Protect Your License?
Entering a diversion program after a DUI arrest may help you avoid criminal charges. However, you may still face a license suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV can issue an administrative suspension of your license automatically.
Generally, the DMV automatically suspends the license of any driver arrested for a DUI. However, you can request an administrative hearing to get ahead of this suspension with help from a lawyer.
Understanding an administrative suspension vs. a court suspension can help you feel more confident after a DUI arrest.
Find Out How PTSD Impacts Your DUI Case in California
Want to learn more about how PTSD can impact your DUI case? A Los Angeles DUI lawyer may provide you with specific information about your situation and the possibility of getting into one of California’s diversion programs.
These programs can provide treatment for your mental health condition and help you avoid a DUI conviction. We provide more resources and details about DUIs in California. You can call or fill out our online contact form to learn more.