Defending Those Suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia from Criminal Prosecution

Protecting the Rights of Your Loved One with Cognitive Memory Loss from Criminal Prosecution. Here is what you need to know.

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Protecting Your Loved One’s Rights

You should not face the criminal prosecution of a loved one with a mental health condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in the criminal justice system. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can help navigate the criminal legal system when a loved one with cognitive decline or any similar condition faces charges, which can often feel overwhelming. These charges are complex, and the consequences can be severe, so it is essential to immediately seek guidance and support from a dedicated attorney who understands the legal intricacies and the profound challenges posed by cognitive decline. If a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is being prosecuted for a crime, you need the right defense attorney to ensure your loved one is not convicted of a crime they did not intend to commit.

How are people with dementia or Alzheimer’s charged with a crime?

The criminal legal system is not well equipped to care for individuals with cognitive memory disorders who are accused of and investigated for a crime. In Michigan, if a crime is alleged against you, the prosecutor’s office decides whether to bring forth charges. Often, the prosecutor’s office issues a warrant to arrest someone for a crime based solely on the police report. During this pre-charge phase, a dedicated and zealous pre-charge defense attorney can make a difference. If someone with a cognitive memory loss diagnosis is accused of or investigated for a crime, hiring an attorney to stop charges from ever being filed keeps them from suffering through the court system and risking a wrongful conviction and sentence. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has a history of success intervening in the pre-charge phase of an investigation and convincing the prosecutor and police not to press charges.

If charges are brought against an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, their defense lawyer must be able to persuade the prosecutor to dismiss the case because there was no intent to commit the crime. Also, the individual will likely never be competent to stand trial. Even with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, prosecutors may not automatically dismiss charges. Several factors can influence their decision, including concerns about public safety, limitations on discretion, and a potential lack of understanding regarding dementia’s impact on criminal intent. Because of the complexities of these cases, a knowledgeable attorney with experience must advocate on the client’s behalf.

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Crimes Commonly Associated with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

People with a dementia or Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis can be charged with a crime just as easily as a person without either of those conditions. The most common charges against individuals with cognitive decline and similar conditions are assaultive crimes, such as domestic violence and assault and battery. Disorderly conduct and trespassing are common as well.

Actions and behaviors that can result in criminal charges are often the result of the side effects of cognitive impairment, including disorientation, confusion, loss of memory, and fear. In most situations where a victim is a family member or loved one, the victim didn’t want any charges but only called the police for assistance. However, many sheriff’s offices and police departments throughout Metro Detroit have a policy of always making an arrest on a call for domestic violence.

Impact of Assaultive Charges on Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia

If the prosecution or police file charges in court, the accused person must be arraigned on the warrant and receive bond conditions. We often see domestic violence charges where the “victim” is a family member or caretaker. A standard condition of a defendant’s bond is no contact between the defendant (person with cognitive memory loss) and the victim (their caretaker). A no-contact order under these circumstances is inappropriate and can be severely damaging to the impacted individual. Few lawyers have the respect and experience to persuade a judge not to prohibit contact and, instead, order no assaultive or threatening conduct. With our reputation and influence, our attorneys regularly achieve results unobtainable by other lawyers.

Strategy of the Defense for a Client with Alzheimer’s or Dementia in a Criminal Prosecution

Due to the nature of a criminal prosecution against someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the first step is frequently to request a competency hearing to demonstrate that the individual is incapable of understanding the nature of the charge, is unable to assist their attorney in their defense, and will never be able to do so. A competency evaluation can take several months to complete and for a report to be generated by the doctor. During this time, the no-contact order could remain in place at the judge’s discretion. A savvy and capable defense attorney with the LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. Defense Team can ensure the judge is aware of the nuances of the client’s circumstances and demand that the no-contact order is lifted. Our team will ensure the judge and prosecutor understand that the defendant will not be “restored” to competency under Michigan Law.

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Michigan Criminal Lawyers Defending Clients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

A person with a dementia or Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis facing a criminal charge needs a compassionate and experienced criminal defense attorney to educate the prosecutor and judge and help them see the full picture. Your loved one deserves an advocate who possesses a deep understanding of the law and their medical condition and approaches their case with empathy and dedication.

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has extensive experience in these situations. Our attorneys have access to the necessary experts and materials to provide the best possible defense for clients with cognitive memory loss. We have the compassion and understanding to protect someone with these diagnoses while being aggressive and tenacious in protecting them from criminal charges. It is essential to have both compassion and toughness. Our attorneys have the respect, reputation, and decades of experience to handle your matter. Our firm is the “go-to” Michigan criminal firm if you are in trouble. Contact us for a free consultation. We will find a way to help you!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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