Does a public defender and or the court have any obligation to treat a DUI case differently if the defendant is seriously mentally ill?

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Does a public defender and or the court have any obligation to treat a DUI case differently if the defendant is seriously mentally ill?

Asked on January 12, 2012 under Criminal Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

They would only treat the case differently if the defendant is so mentally ill as to be unable to appreciate what he or she did, to understand what was wrong, and/or to assist in his/her defense. Of course, if someone is that mentally ill, then it's possible that there may then be a proceeding to involuntarily commit the person for the treatment he or she needs. If you know someone who needs help and is mentally ill to this point, you might bring it to the court's attention--but remember: this is not just a way to get out of a DUI, but it can also result in civil commitment to a mental institution and/or a court-ordered course of evaluation and treatment.


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