Published On: Thu, Mar 14th, 2019

False Allegation: Domestic Violence & Mental Illness

Domestic violence is an issue of concern in the United States. A considerable number of people have highlighted that they are experiencing domestic violence in their homes. Others have even gone to the extra step of filing for divorce and punishment for the accused. These steps are highly recommended because the government is formulating and implementing various policies to minimize domestic violence in the country.

However, besides the tremendous steps that the government has implemented towards the elimination of domestic violence, it is noteworthy that a significant number of accused persons are victims of mental problems. Therefore, most of their criminal activities often result from their impaired decision making and scenario analysis. However, police don’t have the capacity to determine whether a person has mental challenges, which means that they have to arrest the accused person.

Most of the defendants with mental problems face a daunting task of proving that they have mental problems in courtrooms. Although mental illness is not a justification as to why one should engage in domestic violence, it is a clear indication that the defendants may not make sound decisions. However, there are situations that can help the court to pardon the accused, especially if mental problem is proven by professional medical personnel in writing.

1.      Capacity

Mental capacity is an important aspect when it comes to making sound decisions. People with mental problems do not have the capacity to make sound and correct decisions, which means that they can be exempted by the law. Due to mental incapacity, the defendant could be engaging in domestic violence without knowledge and intent.

If you are experiencing mental problems and you have been accused of domestic violence, you can easily use mental capacity as a defense. People with mental health disorders do not have the capacity to follow the law, and they may not distinguish between right and wrong. However, you need to seek the services of a lawyer who will be able to justify mental health problems through legal provisions.

2.      Competency

Domestic violence defendants are exempted from the law as they do not understand what is right and wrong. Their mental health prevents them from understanding what they are supposed to do. Therefore, competence can be used as a legal defense. It is obvious that a person with mental problems will not be able to understand and effectively participate in court processes.

There are sufficient grounds for dismissal if the defendants do not understand the court processes. People with mental capacity cannot be subjected to trials by the court, and they are not fit to handle trial sessions. Subjecting people with mental problems to courtroom trials is a denial of human rights and legal provisions of people without a sound mind.

According to Keller Law Offices, domestic violence perpetrated by people with mental problems is a critical legal case as it can result in arresting, prosecution, and sentencing of the defendants. However, in most cases, people with mental problems are falsely accused, which amounts to defamation of character and false imprisonment.

3.      Mitigation

Accused persons with mental disability are likely to experience leniency from the judge or the prosecutor if they have not been previously accused of committing the same crime. The power of mitigation is a preserve for the judge and the prosecutor, which means that the accused does not control mitigation. In most cases, the facts might show that the accused is guilty of domestic violence, but due to mental illness, the judge may subject the accused to a lenient fine.

4.      Witness Reliability

Witness reliability is another aspect that can be used as a defense for domestic violence. Some of the people who witnessed the incidence may have mental problems, which means that they might find it difficult to recollect previous events. Experienced lawyers can challenge the reliability of a witness with mental problems. It is common knowledge that the court cannot use the evidence of a person with a mental problem to punish the accused. In most cases, these cases are terminated and don’t proceed to the trial stage.

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