Clark County Washington Felony and Misdemeanor Mental Health Court, Part IV

This is the final segment related to the “rules of the road” for the new Clark County Mental Health Court, a program that could make a huge difference for someone accused of a Felony or Misdemeanor criminal offense in Vancouver, Clark County, WA.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Fulfilled all probation and court conditions for case.
  2. Full payment of all financial obligations (program/filing fees, attorney fees, restitution).
  3. Demonstrated a minimum amount of time determined by the team of compliant and pro-social behavior (medication compliance, sobriety, no new law violations oi non- emergency contact w/ law enforcement).
  4. Demonstrated at least 30 days without a sanction.
  5. Has written aftercare and wellness plan* and can articulate plan to the team.
  6. Scheduled exit interview with Mental Health Court Program Coordinator.
  7. Approval for graduation by Mental Health Court Team (voting process).

Aftercare & Wellness Plan

The plan should be a written document that each participant creates as a way to demonstrate basic knowledge and skills to live a law-abiding and productive life. The plan should include daily tasks that need to be done to keep well, identify and understand events/triggers to unhealthy behaviors and ways to cope with these challenges in a healthy manner, a list of known resources in the community, and an action plan for ongoing independent living (goals as well as current information on insurance, budgeting, income, job, school, etc).

Dismissal of Case Upon Graduation

Upon compliance and successful completion of MHC, and payment of all requested restitution, the prosecutor will move to dismiss the defendant’s pending MHC charge(s) with prejudice (can never be filed again once dismissed with prejudice) and the MHC court will dismiss the charge(s). It is the MHC judge’s decision to determine whether the defendant has successfully completed MHC and earned the ability to graduate.

Termination from MHC

Termination from MHC will be determined by the Mental Health Court Judge. The following is a non-exclusive list of reasons why participants may potentially be terminated front MHC:

  • Accumulating new criminal charges that are violent, serious Violent, and/or sex offenses or a finding that the charge involves an intent to commit the offense with sexual motivation (automatic termination).
  • Accumulating new filed charges whereas a finding of probable cause establishing that a new crime has been committed during participation in MHC.
  • Continuous violations of the program (i.e. ongoing non-compliance/attendance at treatment, drug tests, community service, numerous relapses, tampering with UA’s)Unsuccessful discharge from treatment.
  • Extended periods of time on warrant status.
  • ​Willful failure to pay program fees/fines/restitution.

Withdrawal from MHC WITHIN First 14 Days

Within the first 14 days after acceptance into MHC, a defendant may voluntarily withdraw from the program without any penalty. During the same time, The MHC Judge may on his/her own initiative, or on recommendation of any other MHC team member or agency, may withdraw a defendant from MHC. In either event, the contract for entry into MHC will be null and void end there will be t penalty for withdrawal from MHC. All of the defendant’s constitutional rights will be restored (the speedy trial waiver is still in effect) and the defendant will be prosecuted for the pending charges(s) in the normal fashion, before the defendant’s originally-assigned court.

The option to voluntarily withdraw from MHC stops after 14 days. After that time, the defendant is expected to remain in the MHC until he/she either graduates or is terminated from the program by the court

Withdrawal from MHC AFTER First 14 Days/ Termination from MHC – Procedure

​The following procedure shall apply (I) if a defendant seeks to voluntarily withdraw from HMC after the first 14 days; (2) if the MHC judge decides to terminate the defendant from MHC; (3) and/or if termination is recommended by any other MHC team member or agency and approved by the MHC judge:
The defendant’s case shall be returned to the originally-assigned court. The originally-assigned court will hold a bench trial, in which the rights stated in “Stipulation and Waiver of Rights” (see “Stipulation and Waiver of Rights,” supra) shell apply. If, following a bench trial, the court finds the defendant guilty of/all of the charged offense(s) beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant shall be convicted and sentenced within the standard range for his/her offense(s).

Alternatively, if, following a bench trial, the court finds the defendant not guilty of any/all of the charged offenses, those offenses shall be dismissed with prejudice. 

If you or a loved one need a criminal defense lawyer to help navigate the Mental Health Court of Clark County please contact us.