Archive for November, 2018

When the Mentally Ill Are Arrested In Texas

Texas criminal defense attorneyIt’s always tough to find out that a family member or friend has been arrested. But it can be especially difficult when that friend or family member is struggling with mental illness.  

Law enforcement is not well-equipped to treat mentally ill offenders. Often, an arrest can turn into a downward spiral for someone who is mentally ill. Incarcerated people with mental illness are at a higher risk of being sexually abused than those without mental health issues, according to a recent NPR report that cites federal data. If isolated to avoid contact with an abuser, the inmate’s mental illness may worsen, research finds.  

The United States has a sizeable population of inmates who experience mental illness: 

  • About 500,000 people in the U.S. are incarcerated.  
  • More than 40 percent of jail inmates have been told by a mental health professional at some point in their lives they have mental illness.  
  • Twenty-five percent of jail inmates meet the threshold for having serious psychological distress, but only one-third of them receive treatment for the condition. 

What type of help is available for mentally ill people who are arrested?

Some people with serious mental illness end up in and out of the criminal justice system. The jails in effect become a community’s largest mental health facility. But unlike hospitals, jails are not equipped to offer proper access to medication and treatment. A mentally ill inmate who experiences an episode related to schizophrenia or another condition may end up in isolation. 

Recognizing the problem, many county jails in the United States are increasing mental health screening efforts and taking steps to get inmates treatment after they are released. The jails are working with mental health facilities, which research has found is an effective way to help inmates. 

Efforts are under way to reduce the number of inmates who are dealing with mental health issues. The Stepping Up Initiative was started in 2015 to reduce that number. More than 450 counties have passed resolutions to join the national initiative, launched by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, the National Association of Counties and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. 

What to do if your friend or loved one is arrested

Every day, someone with mental illness is arrested. And often, the person is back before a judge because they did not receive proper treatment for their condition.  

We have represented a range of people charged with crimes, including those with mental illness. People struggling with mental illness need treatment for their condition, not incarceration.  

Contact us today for a consultation today if you, a friend or loved one has a mental illness and was arrested. Learn more about how we can help protect your rights. 

How Social Media Can Affect Your Criminal Case in Texas

Texas criminal defense attorneyIn today’s world, it is nearly impossible for some people to refrain from using social media. If you have been charged with a crime such as DWI, or are under investigation, it’s important to understand the impact your Internet activity can have on your case.  

What your social media activity tells law enforcement

Police have set their eye on social media in recent years. If you have a social media account, anything you post is public domain. That means police can easily use this information to build a case against you. This can include:  

  •  Incriminating photos and videos 
  • Incriminating posts and comments 
  • Your location before, during or after the time you have been suspected of committing a crime 
  • Other suspects or witnesses you may be affiliated with 

If you are under investigation, law enforcement may also execute a search warrant to search your phone and other electronic devices. Even if you delete your texts, photos and social media posts, police may still be able to extract them.  

How viral posts can lead to a conviction

Law enforcement officers may not only scrutinize your social media activity, but also find incriminating evidence from viral posts shared by others. Even if you delete a post involving illegal behavior, your posts may have been shared by others. 

In a North Carolina animal cruelty case, three suspects reportedly mutilated a cat and posted pictures of their crime on Instagram. A woman who saw the post reported it to police, who were able to catch the three suspects and charge them. 

But suspects themselves don’t always have to use social media to get caught. In many cases, photos and videos of a crime have gone viral on social media and have helped police identify and catch suspects. 

Stay off social media and remain silent

Whether you are under investigation or you have already been charged with a crime, it’s important to remain silent. Anything you tell law enforcement officers, or any clues you leave behind, can later be used to convict you in court.  

If you are arrested for DWI or another charge, you should consult with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Amanda Webb – DWI Attorney knows how to build a strong defense and will aggressively fight for your rights. 

Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.