Lawyers Consultant Working with Client About Mental Health Law

Mental Health & Criminal Defense 

McCready Law Group Oct. 5, 2022

According to a crime study by the American Psychological Association, about 18% of 429 analyzed crimes were directly or mostly related to the defendant’s mental illness symptoms. In a California criminal trial, the prosecutor must prove action and intent in order to convict a defendant. 

In some cases, the alleged offenders do not have any criminal intent. Rather, their mental health issues – such as depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia – might have contributed to the cause of the crime. A highly-skilled California criminal defense attorney can enlighten you about your rights and options when charged with a crime related to your mental illness symptoms. 

At McCready Law Group, I’m committed to offering reliable representation and comprehensive legal guidance to individuals with mental health disorders in their criminal cases. As your attorney, I can investigate every aspect of your unique situation thoroughly and determine whether you can use your mental health disorder as a legal defense in your case. My firm proudly serves clients across Long Beach, Cypress Hill, and Lakewood, California. 

Common Mental Health Disorders  

Mental health disorders or mental illnesses comprise various mental health conditions that affect a person’s mood, behavior, and thinking. Here are some common mental health disorders: 

  • Anxiety disorders 

  • Panic disorder 

  • Schizophrenia 

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 

  • Bipolar disorder 

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder 

  • Psychosis 

  • Depression 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) 

  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders 

  • Trauma 

  • Mood disorders 

  • Phobias 

  • Addiction and substance use disorder 

Furthermore, a person may experience the symptoms of any of these mental health disorders at different levels – mild, moderate, or severe – and at different times. Unfortunately, certain psychiatric conditions and mental health disorders can spur a person to commit a crime. A reliable attorney can review the facts of your case, determine whether you can establish mental health as a defense, or help explore other possible legal defenses. 

Mental Health as a Defense  

The mental disorder defense – also referred to as the insanity defense – is a legal defense that may be used in a criminal case. It involves arguing that the offender wasn’t responsible for their actions at the time of the criminal act due to their mental health disorder. The different types of mental health defenses in California include: 

Criminal Responsibility: Criminal responsibility is an affirmative defense that focuses on the mental condition of the alleged offender at the time of the crime. The defense counsel will be required to prove this by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This may require presenting substantial facts and evidence of persistent or periodic mental health issues. 

Competency: Conversely, competency primarily focuses on the mental limitations of the defendant at the present time. The state may be unable to prosecute a defendant who isn’t competent (they cannot understand the proceedings or help in their defense). 

An experienced attorney can strategize an effective defense for your case and help prove that you have a mental health disorder. 

Proving Mental Health Claim  

In order to prove a mental disorder defense or insanity defense in the state of California, the defense counsel must show that: 

  • The defendant cannot understand the nature of their criminal actions. 

  • The defendant is unable to distinguish between right and wrong. 

A reliable criminal defense lawyer can represent you aggressively in every phase of the legal proceeding, help prove a mental disorder claim, or attempt to establish your innocence. 

Experienced Guidance Every Step of the Way 

Sometimes, a mental health disorder can spur a person to be violent, aggressive, or engage in an unlawful act. Unfortunately, you may be facing criminal allegations for your unintentional actions. Therefore, when facing criminal charges related to your mental health issues, retaining a dependable criminal defense attorney is crucial for detailed guidance and to help build your best defenses. 

With more than 14 years of extensive experience, I have the skill and resources to represent and defend clients in their criminal cases involving mental health symptoms. Using my comprehensive understanding of California statutes addressing mental health problems in criminal cases, I can guide you through the overly-complicated legal proceedings. Above all, I will fight vigorously to uphold your legal rights and make sure you do not suffer any criminal penalty or ramifications for your unintentional actions. 

Contact my firm – McCready Law Group – today to schedule a simple case assessment with a reliable criminal defense lawyer. I can offer you the highly-personalized legal counsel and skilled representation you need in your case. My firm proudly serves clients across Long Beach, Cypress Hill, and Lakewood, California.

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