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Mental Health and Criminal Defense

Many Arizona Criminal Cases Involve complex mental health and/or addiction issues. Quite frequently these issues are undiagnosed and/or are covered up with drug addiction. Arizona Law is extraordinarily complex when it comes to the insanity defense or finding a person incompetent to stand trial. When hiring an Arizona Criminal Lawyer to manage a case involving mental health and/or addiction issues, make sure that they have experience in these areas. Arizona Criminal Lawyer, Dwane Cates, has successfully used the insanity defense and the client went to a mental hospital, where he will get help, not to prison. Dwane was also able to get several prosecutions dismissed where he showed that his client was not competent to stand trial. Experience counts when hiring an Arizona Mental Health Defense Lawyer.

The Insanity Defense

In Arizona, the insanity defense is referred to as Guilty Except Insane. It is under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-502. A person can be found to be “guilty but insane” if they were impaired by a mental illness or disease to such an extent that they did not know that the criminal act that they committed was wrong. It goes on to note that this does not include voluntary intoxication. It is not a defense that you were too drunk or high to know what you were doing.

This is an exceedingly difficult defense to successfully use. First, this is an affirmative defense. Which means that you must admit that the person committed the crime, but that they were so impaired by their mental illness that they did not know right from wrong. This can be very tricky. In Arizona if the voices in your head are telling you to do something you know is wrong and you cannot resist these voices and do the illegal act, you cannot be found “guilty except insane.” This is because you knew the act was wrong. This is an extremely high standard and exceedingly difficult to prove. You will need to have the accused examined by at least two forensic psychologists and sometimes more. This is a complex and time-consuming procedure. If you do not have an Arizona Criminal Defense Lawyer familiar with this process, you chance of success is very slim. Dwane Cates has successfully used this defense to keep a client out of the Department of Corrections.

Voluntary intoxication is never a defense to a crime. However, addiction can be used to mitigate the consequences of a crime. A person with a history of addiction and criminal behavior is not unusual. Just like with mental health, many people charged with crimes have an addiction issue. An experienced attorney and a mitigation specialist can educate the court regarding addiction issues, help find treatment for the individual and argue for a lesser sentence.

Addiction is profoundly serious. Helping our clients find solutions to their addiction problems not only helps with the present criminal case, but it can also help them stay out of the criminal justice system. Dwane Cates has been involved in the addiction/recovery community for over 30 years. He has numerous resources that he can call on when managing a case involving addiction.

DwaneCates.Com has the knowledge and experience to navigate the complex nature of a mental health or addiction defense.

Client Reviews

I was busted @ the I8 checkpoint about 50 miles east of the AZ/CA border with a very small amount of pot, I called up Dwayne and his people took care of everything, thankfully I did not have to drive back to AZ...


Mr Cates is professional, helpful, explained the entire process and got me great results. I recommend him if you want someone knowledgeable fighting for you.


At the first point from when I retained Mr. Cates, he was nothing but professional, and I felt that he really cared about my case. I could tell that after negotiating with the other attorney, delivering the...


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