September 23, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

“WIT” Court or “Whatever it Takes Court” is a collaborative court program that seeks to aid those who are mentally ill and on the verge of homelessness to stabilize their life through treating the mental illness.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, to be eligible for the program the defendant must have (1 )a “serious and persistent” mental health disorders, (2) must be homeless or on the verge of homelessness and (3) must have “non-violent” charges.

But what makes a person have a serious and persistent mental health disorder? And was does being on the verge of homelessness require?

A “Serious and Persistent” mental health disorder is determined by the DSM or “Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders” that classifies mental disorders into severity. This is a national manual published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual classifies mental disorders into axis groups. Axis I is the most severe, Axis II less severe and so forth.

The court considers all “Axis I” diagnoses to be serious and persistent and thus eligible for WIT Court, however there is some indication that the court, with persuasive counsel would allow in Axis II individuals as well. Axis I diagnoses includes, a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, or major depressive disorder.

To get into this program, the potential participant must not only have a severe mental disorder, but also be on the verge of homelessness. This requires that the defendant be out on his or her own or is about to be kicked out of his or her home because of his mental defect. There is no clear cut definition in the law for the “verge of homelessness.” The lack of a well defined term allows a knowledgeable and skilled Orange County criminal defense attorney the ability to argue on behalf of his or her client to persuade the court to allow the potential participant in the WIT Court Program.

Hiring an experienced criminal defense law firm can greatly increase your chances of keeping your freedom, ensuring you receive the lowest possible sentence and possibly eliminating your criminal record. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been helping people for over 30 years and know the benefits of participating in a collaborative court, such as WIT Court.

Please feel free to contact Wallin & Klarich to discuss your case. You can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 888-280-6839 or go to our website at for more information.

Check back for more tomorrow on the collaborative court system and WIT Court in Southern California.

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