Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has a significant impact on an individual’s behavior and decision-making processes. Unfortunately, this is something that many judges hearing criminal cases fail to understand or take into account when issuing sentences in cases involving defendants with ADHD and criminal behavior.
It is important for attorneys representing clients with ADHD to pay special attention to the underlying issues of their client’s behavior. Criminal lawyers should prepare mitigation for sentencing that takes ADHD into consideration. In many cases, this can be the difference between probation and straight prison time.
If you or a family member have ADHD and are facing criminal charges, it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the impact of ADHD in relation to criminal behavior and is willing and able to present your case in a way that educates the sentencing judge. This could be the difference between a probationary sentence or prison time.
How ADHD Influences Criminal Behavior
ADHD affects the way in which individuals interact with their environment and others. It also changes how they are able to control impulses. Those who suffer from this disorder often have difficulty regulating their emotions and making sound decisions based on an understanding of the consequences of their actions.
In particular, individuals with ADHD – especially those whose ADHD went undiagnosed in childhood – may be more prone to committing certain types of offenses, such as drug-related crimes or property crimes. In some cases, individuals with ADHD may engage in criminal activity as a result of impulsiveness to gain attention.
It is becoming increasingly common to understand how abnormalities such as brain tumors can influence criminal behavior, but the criminal justice system is often slow to recognize that mental health disorders such as ADHD can have a similar effect.
How Prevalent Is ADHD in Prison Inmates?
Research shows that up to 50% of incarcerated individuals have ADHD. However, most inmates don’t find out they have the disorder until after they are in prison. An even larger percentage go undiagnosed while they are in the criminal justice system.
This is leading to a growing outcry from mental health professionals who are calling for a greater understanding of how ADHD can influence criminal behavior and demanding more resources to help inmates with the disorder.
It is important for judges hearing cases involving individuals with ADHD to understand how this disorder influences behavior and decision-making processes, especially when it comes to sentencing. Working with an experienced attorney who understands the impact of ADHD can be invaluable in helping a defendant obtain a more favorable outcome.
How Will My Attorney Argue Mitigating Circumstances Based on ADHD and Criminal Behavior?
Criminal attorneys representing clients with ADHD must take the time to understand their clients. Then, present mitigating evidence for sentencing that takes into account the role of ADHD in their client’s criminal behavior. This includes looking at factors such as:
- The level of impairment associated with the individual’s ADHD and how it may have impacted their decision-making process
- Any history of mental health issues, substance abuse, or other problematic behaviors
- Whether the individual has been consistent in taking their prescribed medication and/or receiving treatment for their condition
- Whether the individual has been able to succeed in a supervised setting, such as probation
It is important for criminal lawyers to present this evidence to the court in an educated and meaningful way that demonstrates their client’s ability to take responsibility for their behavior and make attempts at rehabilitation. The goal should be to obtain a sentence of probation instead of prison time when legally allowed.
Your ADHD Matters, Work With a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney
Hiring a criminal attorney who understands ADHD and criminal behavior can be the difference between a probationary sentence and prison time. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and has been diagnosed with ADHD, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
An attorney familiar with cases like these can better prepare mitigation for sentencing on behalf of their client. This includes obtaining medical records, school records and other evidence to make sure the court understands how ADHD influences a defendant’s behavior.
At Kenney Legal Defense, we are dedicated to helping individuals with ADHD facing criminal charges obtain the best outcome possible. Contact us at 855-505-5588 and speak to our client intake team today for a free case quote.