Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Court




Mental Health Diversion Court

The Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program (MHDP) is an innovative initiative aimed at addressing the intersection of mental health issues and the criminal justice system. As a criminal defense lawyer, it’s essential to understand the key aspects and benefits of this program to effectively advocate for clients with mental health concerns.


The MHDP is designed to divert individuals with mental health issues away from the traditional criminal justice process and into treatment and support services. The program recognizes that mental health conditions can often contribute to criminal behavior and seeks to address the root causes rather than simply punishing the symptoms.

The goal of the Mental Health Diversion Court is to help participants improve mental health stability and self-sufficiency, strive to reach their full potential and live a law-abiding life. 

Like other diversion programs offered by Tarrant County, admittance into the program is not guaranteed. You need a criminal defense lawyer to advocate for you and approve your application prior to submission. 

The program involves a collaborative approach, including judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and mental health professionals. Participants receive individualized treatment plans that may include therapy, medication management, substance abuse treatment, and other supportive services. Regular court appearances and compliance monitoring ensure that participants stay on track.

Criteria for Participation

  • At least 18 years old
  • Active misdemeanor or felony case
  • Have at least one priority/ non-priority population diagnosis, including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and/or anxiety disorder.
  • Non-violent Offense
  • Must plead guilty to the pending offense.
  • Record of mental illness diagnosis and any treatment within five years of offense date
  • Application must be submitted within 90 days of file date.

What offenses are not eligible?

Traditionally, the following offenses are not eligible for the MHDP. However, if you have been accused of a crime and suffer from mental health issues, please contact me. I will do my best to get you into the program.

  • All assaults and anything with a deadly weapon
  • murder 
  • capital murder 
  • kidnapping 
  • aggravated kidnapping 
  • trafficking of persons 
  • continuous trafficking of persons 
  • continuous sexual abuse of young child or disabled individual 
  • indecency with a child 
  • assault 
  • sexual assault 
  • aggravated assault 
  • aggravated sexual assault 
  • injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
  • family violence 
  • child abuse or neglect sexual assault or abuse 
  • indecent assault 
  • stalking, or trafficking
  • continuous violence against the family 
  • aggravated robbery
  • taking or attempting to take weapon from peace officer, federal special investigator, employee or official of correctional facility, parole officer, community supervision and corrections department officer, or commissioned security officer
  • aggravated promotion of prostitution
  • compelling prostitution 
  • sexual performance by a child

Benefits for Defendants

From a defense lawyer’s perspective, the MHDP offers numerous advantages for clients:

  1. Reduced Recidivism: By addressing mental health issues, the program helps reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
  2. Alternative to Incarceration: Clients can avoid jail time and instead receive the treatment they need.
  3. Improved Outcomes: Participants are more likely to achieve long-term stability and improved quality of life.
  4. Legal Benefits: Successful completion of the program may result in reduced charges or dismissal of the case.

Advocacy Role

As a defense lawyer, advocating for a client’s admission into the MHDP involves:

  1. Identifying Eligibility: Recognizing signs of mental illness and gathering relevant medical and psychological documentation.
  2. Collaboration: Working closely with mental health professionals and the court to develop a strong case for the client’s diversion.
  3. Support and Guidance: Assisting clients in understanding the program’s requirements and helping them navigate the process.


The Tarrant County Mental Health Diversion Program is a vital resource for individuals with mental health issues, offering a compassionate and effective alternative to traditional prosecution. As a defense attorney and by leveraging this program, I can significantly improve the outcomes for my clients, ensuring they receive the treatment and support necessary for a better future.

I understand that life can be hard when someone is suffering from a mental health issue. It can be even more difficult if that person also has a criminal record. This program provides the opportunity to treat an individual’s mental health issue and at the same time potentially allow them to have their criminal record expunged upon successful completion. This is a true win-win for many people. 

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