Mental and emotional illnesses and disabilities affect countless people throughout the United States. Disabilities such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and severe depression can often play a significant role in criminal actions.
Sadly, the criminal justice system finds many people with mental illness guilty of committing crimes each year. When you face charges for a crime you committed while mentally incapacitated, understand you do not have to face this challenging time alone. Schedule a consultation with a compassionate Frisco mental health defense lawyer today to learn more. Our criminal defense attorneys can help protect your future.
Criminal Cases Involving Mental Health
Some circumstances allow a person to build a defense based on their mental health issues. Mental health can significantly affect actions and behavior. At times, a person may be unable to control themselves. Therefore, they may not be legally responsible for those actions.
State laws provide defense strategies based on mental illness as incompetence or insanity defenses. The criminal court could determine whether the individual is unfit to stand trial or not legally responsible for the criminal behavior because of mental health unwellness. After reviewing the case specifics, a mental health defense attorney in Frisco can answer specific questions.
Texas Insanity Law and Effect
If someone might have been insane at the time they committed the offense, a Frisco mental health lawyer can request testing prior to pleading insane.
Insanity is an Affirmative Defense
Texas Penal Code, §8.01 says pleading insanity is an affirmative defense. A person, who at the time they commit the action charged, suffers from a severe mental disease or defect that causes them to not know what they did was wrong is considered insane. A Frisco mental health defense attorney can assist you in a case that involves an insanity plea.
An Insanity Defense Requires Strict Adherence to the Rules
To utilize the insanity defense in your criminal charge, you must follow the rules set out in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 46C. The rules lay out strict timelines that must be followed. Additionally, the law only allows specially qualified experts to test for insanity. A mental health defense attorney can advise you if a jury or a judge would be a better fact finder in an insanity defense.
Incompetency to Stand Trial
People are responsible for their actions in most cases. However, courts also recognizes mental health problems can cause people to behave in ways outside of their control. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 46B, a person may be incompetent to stand trial because of a mental illness. Someone can be incompetent but not insane, they are distinct legal and factual issues.
Everyone charged with a crime is presumed competent, but if they don’t have the ability to assist their attorney or they don’t have a factual or rational understanding of the proceedings they will be considered incompetent. The law gives specific guidelines and rules to follow if the issue of competency is questioned. It is also possible a person was competent when they committed the offense charged but become incompetent after.
You may want a jury or a judge to decide the issue of competency, but you will definitely want a well-respected expert to help make the initial determination of competency. A Mental health defense lawyer in Frisco can review the applicable statutes and strategize the best potential defense.
Schedule a Meeting With a Skilled Mental Health Defense Attorney in Frisco
While mental illness is not as taboo as it once was, it is still common for people to face criminal prosecution for actions they would not have committed in their right state of mind. Mentally ill individuals still face severe consequences for their actions when they are out of control of their thoughts and actions.
Seek help from a hard-working Frisco mental health defense lawyer. With over 100 years of combined experience, we take every case seriously, with no criminal case too big or small. Contact us to learn more about your defense options.