Criminal Defense Attorneys and Mental Health Professionals: How Both Can Help You If You’re Facing Charges

Sharing is caring!

Criminal Defense Attorneys and Mental Health Professionals Often Work Together on Criminal Defense Cases

Those who have been charged with crimes can benefit when their attorneys work with mental health therapists. There are also long-term benefits for the criminal justice system in general when defense attorneys and mental health professionals, including addictions counselors, work as a team.

One obvious reason the criminal justice system would benefit from these partnerships is simple: many defendants in the criminal justice system are dealing with mental illness, experience anxiety, or have an addiction. Statistics show that more than half of adults in the corrections system in the United States have a substance use disorder and the overwhelming majority of those in the system diagnosed with a mental illness concurrently have addiction issues.

Someone dealing with an addiction or a mental health disorder desperately needs support and guidance from both an attorney and a mental health professional. Only a combination of legal guidance and support and mental health treatment guarantee them the highest odds of success.

But there’s more.

Not only do these people need support from both of these entities, but they also need them working together to create the best possible long-term plan. Each party should know what the other is doing and be able to share information that could strengthen treatment and a defense.

How Can Mental Health Professionals Help Criminal Defense Attorneys and their Clients?

  • Assisting attorneys in communicating with their clients. Effective communication is essential when building a strong defense, but it can be challenging when a client is dealing with an addiction or mental illness. A mental health professional can facilitate an effective and productive conversation.
  • Educating attorneys about the challenges their clients face.
  • Help with establishing trust between clients and attorneys and between attorneys, judges, and prosecutors.
  • Developing effective treatment plans that align with the goals of the criminal justice system and that will be approved by a judge.

Of course, this is a two-way street and defense attorneys can also help mental health professionals with their clients.

They do this by:

  • Explaining the criminal justice process to therapists so therapists better understand the legal challenges their patients face. It also helps counselors and therapists to understand the parole process and what’s needed from their patients so they can succeed with only minimal supervision.
  • Educating therapists about the approach of judges and prosecutors. These are people whose approach is based on penalty and punishment, not rehabilitation. Many of them also face public pressure and media scrutiny, which tends to have a significant impact on their decision-making.
  • Serving as a liaison between prosecutors and judges and mental health professionals. Judges and prosecutors aren’t going to seek out information that tends to favor the defense, which is often the case with the information mental health professionals provide. Defense attorneys can bring important information to light and make sure that all of the facts related to mental health are known.

You can read more about some of the research that has been done into the benefits of providing those in the criminal justice system with mental health support here.

When mental health professionals and defense attorneys work as a team, it helps their clients and improves the justice system long-term.

To learn more about how having a mental health professional and an experienced defense attorney in your corner can help your case, or if you have been accused of a crime, contact criminal defense attorney Gary Tabakman at (713) 331-9457.