Communicating Your Mental Illness to Your Attorney as Honestly and Accurately as Possible

17December
2018

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Working with a trusted criminal defense lawyer that you can be honest and open with is important. To receive the best legal representation, you need to always be up front with your attorney about your mental illness and the details surrounding your case. Remember, they are on your side so that you go through the justice system fairly and receive a fair punishment.

Communication starts with your attorney. The right attorney will encourage you to be honest and open the line of communication. Since they specialize in mental health cases, they know and understand what you are going through. All of your rights are protected, including your medical information and your legal issues. An experienced mental illness attorney will know how to break that lack of communication and will deliver compassionate, supportive and non-judgmental legal advice and representation.

When there are no secrets between you and your attorney, it will only help your case. As long as you let your attorney know all of the details, they will be able to help you receive a fair and reasonable punishment. If you are being charged with a crime and suffer from a mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, manic depression or other mental illnesses, highly consider visiting an experienced and skilled mental illness criminal defense attorney for legal advice and representation.

Garcia Law

With more than 25 years of experience, Garcia Law offers seasoned professionals that communicate fully with their clients. They know their clients’ rights and options, always making them feel like they are on their side. From a wide range of legal issues from felonies to misdemeanors, Garcia Law has the proper education and knowledge to fight for you. Just because you have a mental illness, doesn’t mean you should be silenced. Garcia Law will fight to ensure that you receive a fair case and punishment.

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I Have Been Charged with a Felony, Can a Mental Illness Attorney Help?

19November
2018

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Whether you have been charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, the attorneys at Garcia Law will defend the mentally ill no matter the circumstances. Our staff has experience with all types of cases for the mentally ill such as DUIs, drug offenses, homicides, robberies and more. So, what can you do if you are mentally ill and have been charged with a felony?

The first step after being charged with a felony is to meet with a trusted and skilled attorney. A felony is a serious crime, whether it’s violent or non-violent. If you have been charged with a felony, you could face one to 25 years in prison. In fact, you most likely will serve at least one year of imprisonment. It depends on the crime, severity of the conviction and previous offenses. For example, a class 1 felony conviction can result in a 25 year sentence.

However, if you have a mental illness and are charged with a felony, don’t let that stop you from a fair court process. Legally accused of a serious crime can come with serious consequences. If you have a mental illness, you could bring your case to the mental health courts. Keep in mind that some mental health courts are restricted to misdemeanors. This is why legal representation from Garcia Law is beneficial. We will pay close attention to your case, finding ways to receive treatment instead of punishment, or a combination of both.

Why Garcia Law?

The attorneys at Garcia Law understand the legal system and the mentally ill. Your rights must be protected in the court system, especially if you have a mental illness.  Garcia Law has experience with those suffering from mental disorders such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, mood disorders, psychotic disorders and personality disorders. We understand that you are not in full control of your mental health and will seek justice no matter what.

 

Posted in Arizona Laws, Mental Health, Mental Health Defenses | Tagged , , , , , , |

Am I Eligible for Mental Health Court?

26September
2018

If you have a mental illness and are facing charges, dealing with the legal system can be an overwhelming experience. Fortunately, there are certain circumstances where a person with a mental illness can qualify for mental health court, making the process much easier.

What are mental health courts?

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Mental health courts are specialty courts that combine judicial supervision along with community treatment and support for those with a mental illness. The purpose of these courts is to help reduce criminal activity and improve the quality of life of the participants. Mental health courts have seen success by reducing incarceration, preventing more crimes from being committed, and offering help and support.

Who qualifies for mental health courts?

Defendants can only be referred to mental health courts by defense attorneys, judges, service providers, jail staff, or family members. To be considered to participate in mental health court, a defendant must agree to plead guilty. Each program varies by state, but most mental health courts will accept defendants that suffer from a severe mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Offenses accepted in the courts can range from misdemeanors to felony charges. However, DUIs, sexual offenses, and violent crimes resulting in injury are usually excluded automatically.

Mental health court approval

All defendants are screened early on, either at the jail or by a court staff. Each mental health court is a little different when it comes to what offenses are accepted, all depending on their jurisdiction. All mental illnesses must be diagnosed by a doctor after a comprehensive assessment following the screening process. The defendant must fully agree to comply with all of the mental health courts terms and conditions.

Posted in Arizona Laws, Mental Health, Mental Health Defenses | Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

What Exactly are Mental Health Courts?

17August
2018

A serious mental health illness can make court cases complicated. Luckily, adults with a serious mental health illness can attend a Mental Health Court. You may have heard of Mental Health Courts, but what exactly are they and who qualifies for them?

Definition

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Mental Health Courts are specialty courts that combines judicial supervision along with community treatment and support for those with a mental health illness. This process helps reduce criminal activity and improves the quality of life of the participants.

The goals of mental health courts include:

  • Reduce incarceration
  • Prevents participants from committing even more crimes
  • Provide mental health help and support

Who qualifies?

To qualify for Mental Health Courts, there are specific medical and legal criteria that someone must follow.

Medical – must have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or any axis 1 disorders, which include PTSD and depression.

Legal – Must attend court in the same county the participant lives in, but there are some crimes that automatically excludes qualifying for these specialty courts:

  • DUIs
  • Sexual offenses
  • Violent crimes resulting in injury

Requirements

It is always best to talk to a mental health attorney to know if you qualify and if a Mental Health Court is the right option for you. If you do end up attending a Mental Health Court, keep in mind that you must fully complete your sentence.

Participants must:

  • Follow the treatment plan that was given to them
  • Take any medications prescribed
  • Attend counseling/group sessions that will be provided to them
  • Report to the judge at least once a week (this can be reduced to once a month based on multiple factors)
  • Undergo standard probation rules including drug testing

The experienced mental health attorneys at Garcia Law Firm are here to help. If you think you could benefit from Mental Health Courts, contact us today for legal guidance.

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How Social Media Can Impact Your Mental Health Case

18April
2018

Social media has taken the world by storm. It has changed the way we interact with each other by using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We use these to update everyone on everything going on in our life. However, sharing too much information can be harmful to your legal case.

Photos & Posts

Photos and updates from social media have been used more and more as evidence in court cases. These things can produce doubt in your character as well as your version of events highlighted in the case. If you are facing an injury or mental health case, posting posts or photos of you doing things that goes against your claims could really harm you. For example, if you are claiming you have an injury, but post something about you dancing, that could be an issue. Also, if you are claiming that you are suffering from depression, but post that you are out having fun, this could discredit you. Admitting really anything about your case or your incident on social media could be used against you. Especially if you are using apps that having tracking devices on them as they could dispute the time and place of your whereabouts. Keep in mind that posts can usually be inadmissible in court, but photos and videos are very hard to dispute. It is best to keep a low profile while going through any legal case, especially if it is a mental health case.

Emotional Distress & Mental Health

Cases that revolve around pain, suffering emotionally or mental health can still use social media posts as evidence. If you are portraying a very positive and happy life, this could be used to question your credibility and your claim that you’re really suffering emotionally. In most cases, this has actually worked. Even photos of you out at social activities smiling could be used against you.

Protect Yourself

To protect yourself from having this kind of evidence brought forward to harm your case, you should avoid posting on social media or even deactivating your profiles for a while. You may think that your information is private, but it is better to be safe than sorry. If you are open with your attorney through the whole case and never talk about your case on social media, you should be able to avoid drawing any extra attention to yourself.

Posted in Mental Health, Mental Health Defenses | Tagged , , , |

New AZ Supreme Court Ruling On Insanity Defense

18July
2017

A new Supreme Court Ruling was decided earlier this month that says a defendant pleading insanity and voluntarily undergoing a mental health exam must provide the results to the prosecutor of the case.

The ruling also states that the defendant with a mental health defense must include a statement about their impending charges. The prosecutors are not allowed to use this statement to prove guilt but they are able to use this statement to rebut the defendant’s insanity claims.

The new ruling calls into question whether requiring disclosure violates the defendants’ Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. But the ruling released by the Supreme Court states that no rights are violated by this decision. This is because defendants claiming insanity have waived their protection against self-incrimination.

The ruling was issued in the case of Josh Rasmussen awaiting trial in a 2013 Glendale homicide case. The decision was unanimous.

What Does This Mean For Others With A Mental Health Defense?

Claiming to be insane during the time that you committed a crime is not always an easy thing to do. In claiming that, you are saying that you did, in fact, commit the crime. But you are also trying to prove that you were not in your right mind when the crime happened and that you’d like to get treatment rather than be incarcerated. It’s not a get out of jail free card and it’s not taken lightly.

Now, with this new ruling, you must give all records from you mental health exams to the prosecutor of your trial. If you are mentally ill, the records will show that. If you have a good mental health defense attorney on your side this will only help your case. Contact us if you need an expert on your side.

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Posted in Arizona, Mental Health, Mental Health Defenses | Tagged , , , , , |

Options for Mentally Ill Offenders That Don’t Involve Jail

18May
2016

Many Americans with mental illness end up in jails and prisons each year. They also tend to spend longer terms in prison and end up back in prison costing local jurisdictions more money. They are typically jailed for nonviolent reasons and end up lacking the treatment they need. So what are other options for the mentally ill offenders that doesn’t involve incarceration?

Mental health options in Phoenix: Community corrections

police motorcycle enforcing mentally ill lawsCommunity corrections is an alternative to prison for nonviolent offenders. The mentally ill can benefit from these programs because they provide several treatments aimed at helping mental disorders and substance addiction. Phoenix House offers a community treatment program as an alternative to prison. This program costs less than prison and offers significant help in a clinically supportive environment. Phoenix House provides a number of treatments:

  • Assessment and evaluation services: Phoenix House provides individual assessments and evaluations of substance abuse and mental disorders that can be requested by individuals, families, schools and the Criminal Justice System.
  • Mental health services: Phoenix House provides treatment programs specifically designed to treat mental illnesses in kids and adults short term and long term.
  • Sober living and recovery support: Phoenix House offers a safe transition space before fully returning to independent living or an alternative to residential treatment depending on the situation.
  • Mother and child residential services: Phoenix House offers professional services for pregnant women and women with young children in a residential setting.
  • Adult outpatient services: Adults have the option of receiving outpatient services that provide a comprehensive array of substance abuse and mental health programs. All programs use evidence based practices that are safe, supportive and accredited.
  • Adult residential services: Phoenix House’s residential treatments are catered to each individual and create solutions to meet each individual’s needs. Stay lengths are flexible and programs meet any treatment needs.
  • Adult detoxification and stabilization: Phoenix House offers medical and social detoxification and stabilization services that helps individuals detox safely and then connects them to the next level of care.

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Posted in Arizona, Arizona Laws, Mental Health Defenses | Tagged , , , , |