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Challenges Unique to the Defendant with Mental Health Issues


Hands in Bars

Those suffering from mental health issues at some of the most difficult and trying times of their life may find themselves in a situation where they may violate the law and encounter police. Not only is the prospect of incarceration a stressor that exacerbates the situation, the deprivation of liberty may interfere with the family support, medication, and counseling situations that may have been in place to aid the person before. Unfamiliarity with the court system and procedures, in addition to the cognitive difficulties the person may be suffering from make defendants suffering from mental illness the type of case that needs special care and attention that not all attorneys are capable of providing.

Defendants suffering from mental health issues may have not had the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong or had the ability to conform their behavior to the requirements of the law at the time of the offense. In those cases, an insanity defense is proper. An assessment from a competent psychiatrist is crucial in preparing a competent defense.

The role of psychiatric help stems beyond the legal case defense. People with mental health issues often find themselves with extremely high bail due to the potential for erratic behavior and a perceived danger to the community. The mentally ill are at a high risk for attempting suicide while incarcerated. While our jail system does have healthcare, the restrictions placed on medications and access to counseling may be very different than the defendant is accustomed to.At this time of crisis, the defendant struggling with mental health issues may find that the jail will provide a similar but different medication to the medications they are on, and the challenges of changing medications will be added to that defendants' problems. Also, while counseling or therapy sessions may be available, the defendant most likely will be no longer able to see their usual counselor which they have built a personal relationship with over the years.

If the result of the litigation ultimately ends in conviction of the defendant, their problems are just beginning. While in the jail and dealing with their mental health issues, the odds of an episode happening under this stress increase, and a mentally ill client may find themselves facing assault charges for spitting at or hitting jail staff. Due to their role as staff at the prison, this becomes an aggravated assault charge which is a serious felony. Even after their release from jail, complying with conditions of probation or parole may be difficult. Instead of being sensitive to the individual need for flexibility of those with mental health issues, many mentally ill probationers and parolees may find themselves facing very stringent probation requirements.

For all these reasons and many more, it is important that those with mental health issues find a competent, understanding attorney who will go beyond the criminal case to make sure that the defendant's life and rights are in good hands.. If you or a loved one has mental health issues and are facing criminal charges, Attorney Frank Walker can help you in your time of need. As a criminal defense attorney with years of experience, Frank Walker has fought for the rights of those with mental health issues and fought for them in their time of need. Call now to set up a consultation today! Lines are open 24/7 at (412) 532-6805!

Attorney Frank Walker of Frank Walker Law is a National Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyer andPersonal Injury Attorney with offices in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Morgantown West Virginia. Attorney Walker is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense and qualified as aPennsylvania Death Penalty Defense Attorney.

If you or someone you love are facing criminal charges or seriously injured in an accident in WV or PA, contact Attorney Frank Walker immediately at 412-532-6805 24 hours a day, 7 days a weekfor aggressive and experienced Criminal Defense or Representation in a Civil Case.