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Arizona Mental Illness and Criminal Charges

The Hallam Law Group has worked with many defendants with mental illnesses, substance addictions, and other mental conditions. We are passionate about advocating for this group of people in Scottsdale, Arizona. We know how inappropriate and damaging a criminal conviction and jail sentence can be for individuals suffering from a mental illness. Our criminal defense lawyers in Scottsdale work hard to secure positive outcomes for defendants with mental illnesses through Arizona’s Mental Health Courts.

Mental illness can lead to behaviors, actions, and emotions that culminate in the committing of a criminal offense. Some crimes are minor, but others result in serious criminal penalties. As someone suffering from a mental illness, protect your position as a defendant in the state of Arizona with help from the Hallam Law Group. We know how to use Arizona’s mental-health court system to our clients’ greatest benefit. Let our lawyers help you during this time of need no matter what crime you allegedly committed.

How Do the Courts Treat Mental Illness and Criminal Charges in Arizona?

Arizona is a relatively forgiving state in terms of criminals with histories of mental illness. Counties within the state have dedicated Mental Health Courts with assigned judges, mental health professionals, and staff members with mental health expertise. The goal of these courts is to provide defendants with the mental health treatment they need to get better, improve their lives, or control symptoms – not necessarily to punish the individuals for committing crimes.

The court may order defendants 18 years or older to comply with the state’s mental health treatment program if it accepts the defendant’s application for a mental health evaluation. At least two evaluating physicians will meet with the defendant to investigate his/her mental condition, past psychiatric records, and the circumstances leading up to the alleged crime.

All parties involved must assess a defendant’s competency, clinical, and legal criteria to determine a defendant’s eligibility for entry into Mental Health Court. A defendant may receive approval to enter Mental Health Court during pre-trial programs or after judgment and sentencing. Should the physician recommend involuntary commitment to a mental health program, the courts might permit the defendant to complete the program in lieu of receiving a criminal conviction and serving a sentence.

If a person with a history of incidents regarding their mental health and they assault someone, a Scottsdale assault lawyer or mental illness attorney can argue that the defendant was mentally ill and possibly get the case dismissed. This is also a possible defense for Scottsdale homicide and manslaughter cases.

Arizona Mental Health Court Standards

The state of Arizona maintains a set of requirements for proving a defendant’s legal insanity in a criminal case. The defendant or his/her attorney must present “clear and convincing evidence” of the mental disease or defect in relation to committing the criminal act. It’s important to hire a lawyer with experience proving these types of cases for your best possible case outcome.

Upon entering the Mental Health Court, the participant will go through four main stages of the program: orientation, stabilization, reintegration, and maintenance. He or she must meet all the requirements to successfully complete the program and avoid criminal consequences. In many cases, a judge will permit a defendant to go through the Mental Health Court program instead of giving him or her a criminal conviction. This bodes for better futures for those with mental illnesses.

Protecting Your Rights as a Person with Mental Illness

When you retain one of our attorneys to represent you or a loved one during criminal legal proceedings, you gain access to outstanding resources, education, and experience. We’ll strongly defend your case, submitting the proper documentation and applications for a mental illness defense. Your lawyer will speak to representatives and physicians on your behalf, positioning your case in such as a way as to maximize the odds of escaping a criminal conviction.

We believe in progressive care and treatment for people with mental illnesses – not life as a criminal. Talk to an attorney who cares about your well-being today at (602) 237-5373. Initial consultations are always free and confidential.