When a military member is facing legal proceedings, such as a court-martial or administrative action, they may use an existing mental health condition or disorder as a strategy of defense. The purpose of a mental health defense is to demonstrate the accused’s mental state at the time of the offense and how it impacted their ability to comprehend the nature of their actions. Here’s what to know about mental health defense in the military.
Mental Health Conditions
The accused’s mental health conditions may be presented as evidence in order to establish how their mental condition was related to the offense. Examples of mental health conditions may include disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and more.
The defense can argue that the accused’s mental health condition impaired their mental capacity related to the offense in question. When someone lacks capacity, it can be difficult to prove intent regarding their actions, which is often necessary for a conviction.
Expert witnesses, such as mental health professionals or forensic psychiatrists, may be called upon to provide assessments and testify regarding the accused’s mental state, the impact of their condition on behavior, and the potential link between the mental health condition and the alleged offense.
Evaluations may be conducted in order to assess the accused’s mental health history and other relevant information, such as how they function psychologically and whether they have suffered from prior trauma.
A Mitigating Factor
If the mental health defense is successful, it can serve as a mitigating factor in the case, which may result in a reduced charge or sentence. The accused’s mental health needs and whether they can be helped will also be considered.
While every case and every military branch is slightly different, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) includes provisions that address mental health conditions and issues and how they may impact legal proceedings.
One’s best chance of reducing or eliminating a charge due to mental health issues is with the assistance of a military defense attorney who understands how these laws are applied and can help to implement this strategy in military legal proceedings.
The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime
The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible.
If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.