Mental Health Law in California

Criminal Defense and Mental Illness

Individuals with mental illness are among our most vulnerable and misunderstood citizens, often ending up in locked treatment facilities or even worse, in jail. If you or a loved one suffers from mental illness and has been charged with a crime, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer immediately. At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP our attorneys have helped thousands of mentally ill people stand up and fight for their rights, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss your situation and determine how we may be able to help you.

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Santa Barbara Area

One out of every four Americans suffers from mental illness. With that astounding number, it is a surprising but true fact that police officers do not always have sufficient training and experience to recognize that someone who is actively psychotic, is having a manic episode or who is taking medication as prescribed is actually mentally ill and not a danger to anyone. Too often these individuals are perceived as a threat or under the influence of drugs or alcohol and charged with a crime, even though they have done nothing wrong.

The criminalization of mental illness is an injustice that cannot be overlooked. We believe that treatment rather than incarceration is the best solution for people entangled in the criminal justice system who have mental illness, and if retained for your criminal defense we will dedicate ourselves to getting your case thrown out or obtaining a not guilty verdict at trial. If that is not possible, we will explore all alternatives at our disposal for you other than jail or prison. We are also very experienced in representing persons during civil commitments and will gladly explain your rights to you and stand by your side throughout the experience to make sure that your rights are not violated.

People are too often misdiagnosed, misunderstood and not given enough time to explain themselves. We serve people in Montecito, Isla Vista, UCSB, Goleta, and Carpinteria and are proud of listening to our clients and always keeping them informed and protected during the course of criminal proceedings, civil hospital commitments and beyond.

Contact a Santa Barbara criminal defense attorney for a compassionate and aggressive defense of your mental health-related criminal matter.