Being arrested for a criminal charge is a frightening situation that can lead to severe consequences for your future, your job status, and your family. Many times the stress of a criminal arrest can exacerbate an already existing mental health condition. Other charges could have been brought as a result of an existing mental health condition which you were unaware of. Either option requires close observation by a trained specialist, as well as a highly qualified Phoenix mental health defense attorney who is able to successfully argue the best defense for you.
Mental Health Defense Lawyer in Phoenix
Mental health is a tricky defense because so much weighs on the health of the accused prior to the arrest. If you have not previously been observed by a specialist, it may be difficult to prove any type of mental illness. While the “insanity” defense has been a defense since the nineteenth century after the McNaughton case, it gathered much press attention after the trial of John Hinkley who attempted to assisinate President Ronald Reagan. At the time, courts followed the current Model Penal Code, which provided that a person, who lacked the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or conform to the standards of law could be found not guilty by reason of insanity. This test was very vague and largely left to the discretion of juries.
After the trial of John Hinkley who was found not guilty for reason of insanity, the public was stunned and furious that would-be assassins could get away so easily. As a result, the Reagan administration passed a stricter test through the Comprehensive Crime Control Act which now requires “clear and convincing evidence” that “at the time of the commission of the acts constituting the offense, the defendant, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts;” aka the knowing right-from-wrong standard.