How Does Mental Illness Affect a Criminal Case?

Maverick Ray Law
July 13, 2022

The Impact a Mental Health Disorder Can Have on Crime

Millions of people across the United States are affected by mental health disorders. Unfortunately, few people have access to or receive the treatment that they need. Mental health can directly affect a person’s perception of reality and judgment. It may even impact whether a person is more likely to enter the criminal justice system, as evidenced by the fact that a disproportionate number of people who are incarcerated have a mental health condition.

At Maverick Ray & Associates, we know the devastating impact a mental health condition can have on a person and their family. We work hard to ensure that our clients understand their rights and are given the opportunity to enter treatment when mental illness has affected their reasoning and actions.

If you or a loved one was charged with a crime but suffers from a mental health concern, contact our office at (281) 843-1663 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Mental Health in Texas Jails and Prisons

A Mental Health Committee Report & Recommendations issued by the Texas Judicial Council found that around 20 - 24% of the inmate population in the state has a “mental health need.” Additionally, data shows that adults with diagnosable but untreated mental health conditions are 8x more likely to be put in jail or prison compared with the general population.

The statistics are astounding. Individuals with mental health concerns are significantly more likely to enter the criminal justice system and be incarcerated. Texas has spent billions of dollars to try and rectify the issue, but the fact remains that mental health can play a direct role in whether someone is arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime.

Types of Mental Health Disorders

There are several recognized mental health disorders that are known to impair a person’s ability to reason or think. When a person is afflicted with one of these conditions, it may be more likely that they will commit a crime or encounter law enforcement.

Types of mental health disorders that may affect a criminal case:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Substance use disorders

If you have one of these disorders and commit a crime, the state may find that you would be better served by enrolling in treatment in lieu of incarceration. The court could find that you are incompetent to stand trial and court-order treatment, or it may be within your best interest to voluntarily enroll in treatment after an arrest.

Hiring an Experienced Defense Attorney

One of the most important things to know about mental health and criminal cases is that without the help of an attorney, you could end up getting the maximum sentence possible.

An attorney can help prove that your actions were impacted by an underlying condition and that it would be in the interest of justice to have you enroll in treatment. They can also raise an insanity defense on your behalf.

If you have a history of mental illness or have experienced trauma that led to a mental health condition, you need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. There may be alternative sentencing options in your criminal case.

Get a Free Consultation Today

If you committed a crime but have a mental health concern, contact our office at (281) 843-1663 to schedule a free consultation. Let us fight for your freedom. Call today to get started.