How can I get mental health diversion?

By Last Updated: March 16, 2022

scrabble pieces spelling the words If you have been charged with a minor offence and you would like to resolve your charges with mental health diversion, the best way to secure this resolution is to hire a criminal defence lawyer. Because your admission to a mental health diversion program is a nuanced process, it is in your best interests to have a criminal defence lawyer who is familiar with this type of process to speak to the Crown on your behalf. With our knowledge and experience, we can present your case in a highly effective manner that will target the concerns of the Crown, and that will dramatically increase the likelihood of your placement in this diversion program.

To be diverted to MHD, you will need to demonstrate your that you are eligible for the program on the basis of the nature of your offence, your personal circumstances, your potential to be effectively be treated within the community. Importantly, you will have to show that diversion is conducive with your personal safety as well as the safety of the community.

If the Crown consents to your charges being diverted through MHD, you will then meet with a mental health worker who will perform a further assessment and confirm that you are an appropriate fit for the program. Once accepted, you will have to accept responsibility for the offence and voluntarily participate in the program by complying with treatments that are prescribed to you, and by completing activities mandated by your mental health worker. If the Crown consents to your participation in the program, at your next court date we can appear on your behalf and notify the court that your charges are currently being resolved through mental health diversion. We will then set a return date several months down the line to allow you time to complete the program.

What happens after you get mental health diversion:

If you have successfully completed the program by the return date, the Crown will withdraw the charges against you. Once the charges are withdrawn, your involvement with the authorities for this offence will completely end. It is important to note that you will not receive a criminal conviction if you were diverted through MHD. While you must accept responsibility for the offence, it is important to note that mental health diversion is not the same as an admission of guilt, nor is it a finding of guilt. As such, you will not be convicted of the offence and it will not show up on basic criminal record checks. However, note that mental health diversion can show up on some enhanced criminal record checks like police information checks or vulnerable sectors checks for the period of one year.

By contrast, if you fail to complete the program, on the return date the Crown will reinstate the charges against you and continue to pursue your conviction.

About The Author

Michael Oykhman

Managing Partner

Michael Oykhman is a senior lawyer and founder of Oykhman Criminal Defence, a full-service criminal law firm with central law offices across Western Canada and Ontario.

My professional experience consists of countless court appearances and thousands of successful defences and satisfied clients. Over the last 10 years, I have worked to build a law office where all the lawyers share our collective experience, resources, and passion to help people. Our team approach to legal representation is client–rather than only law–centered. We look for opportunities to add value to our clients through strategic thinking and creative solutions.

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