Statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) show that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. Fortunately, an increase in discussions of mental health issues and mental health awareness means that dealing with these issues and seeking help when needed has become easier in this day and age.
Today, we would like to address the subject of mental health when it comes to legal cases. The truth is, mental health issues are indiscriminate in who they affect. Many individuals may find themselves facing a tough criminal charge or entangled in a complicated family law case whilst simultaneously battling difficult mental health obstacles. In our combined decades of legal practice, we have worked with many clients who have had to balance their mental health with the obligations of a legal case, so we understand just how hard it can be.
The unfortunate truth is that not only can your mental health make an already difficult court case even more burdensome, but it can also impact the outcome of your case in many scenarios. Below, we will outline, in two separate sections, a) how mental health can factor into your case; and b) some advice on managing your mental health while facing a complicated court case.
In many criminal defense and divorce law cases, mental health issues can play a substantial role in the origins of your case, the outcome of your case, or sometimes even both. Typically, mental health plays different roles, depending on whether your case is a criminal or family law case. We'll discuss both below.
Often, in criminal cases, the alleged offense can be the result of a mental health issue. For example, a drug possession offense may occur as a result of struggles with substance abuse disorders, or issues with alcoholism may cause a DUI.
Fortunately, in these types of cases where a mental health issue plays a role in the charged offense, you might have options. Illinois lawmakers do understand that many DuPage County and Illinois residents can struggle with mental health issues in their lifetime. As a result, if you are dealing with mental health issues that have played a role in your DuPage County criminal case, there may be options for you to lessen the severity of your case outcome and receive the help you need to move forward with your life.
One common type of probation which may be an option for you is TASC probation -- an alternative program which enrolls you in a treatment plan which, under successful completion, can result in your conviction being vacated. Furthermore, prosecutors may also be open to offering plea deals or alternative sentencing options, based on the circumstances of your case.
In many instances, seeking the representation and advocacy of an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney can be of considerable benefit to you. An attorney who has seen his or her fair share of criminal defense cases will be able to look at your case and know what your options may be. Often, they can negotiate your case for you and advocate on your behalf, to both secure you a better outcome in your case and get you the assistance you need to look forward to a brighter future.
Family law cases, on the other hand, are cases which involve many moving parts. Depending on each family's circumstances, factors such as maintenance, child support, or parenting time can come into play in a divorce case. When factors such as parenting time are on the table, mental health can become a significant issue of contention.
In cases of child custody which take place outside of divorce, psychological fitness and mental health can often become a significant factor in determining how child custody is awarded. Often, mental illness or substance abuse disorders can negatively impact a parent's petition to get more parenting time or custody of their child.
For that reason, if you are facing a family law case and struggling with any mental health issues, it's important to sit down with a knowledgeable lawyer who can offer you insight into how your mental health may impact the outcome of your case. More than anything, it's essential to understand what you may be facing and how your mental health may impact your case. A family law attorney can advocate for your rights and interests, and fight to help secure you an optimal outcome for your case.
There's a big difference in knowing how your mental health may impact your case, and learning how to balance the stress of an open legal case with the challenges of a mental illness or disorder. In our decades of experience advocating for clients in Illinois, we can tell you that having a web of support can make a big difference. We often advise clients to seek support in their family members and friends.
Furthermore, having an attorney who is willing to listen to you and fight for you on the legal front can help mitigate much of the weight of a court case, giving you more time and energy to focus on your mental wellbeing.
Our number one suggestion, as attorneys who have represented cases for many individuals who were simultaneously dealing with mental health challenges, is that it's okay to be open with your attorney about your struggles. In fact, so long as you're not entirely uncomfortable with the idea, we highly recommend you disclose the struggles you are facing so your attorney can advocate for you with full awareness of what is going on.
If you or a loved one are facing a criminal charge or difficult family law case, the experienced attorneys at Dolci & Weiland may be able to help you. We understand that any case is stressful, and that level of stress can drastically increase if you are dealing with mental health challenges or even any type of personal issue. We work closely with our clients and make a point of recognizing their individual circumstances and needs to ensure that we can give them the personal, comprehensive legal advocacy they deserve
To schedule a free legal consultation with an attorney and find out how we can help you, give our office a call at (630) 261-9098.