Mental Health and Law

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Mental Health Advocacy

Mental Health Advocacy is an area of law that has begun to leave the compliance sector and move more firmly into a high profile area of criminal law. A part of the reason for this stems from the changes in federal and state funding for public care, and due to the use of private corporations for services by public institutions. It is not unusual for complaints to result in criminal charges against individual practitioners, institutions and public entities. While there has been a grass roots movement to produce lay advocates, the bulk of the work is falling to lawyers experienced in criminal law.

The move toward legal advocacy

The move toward criminal law experience as a requirement for mental health advocacy has gotten a recent boost by the institution of what is colloquially known as “Obamacare.” More people are now insured, and more people who were covered by insurance have had changes made to their long term coverage practices. It also means that care facilities are currently overwhelmed by patients seeking treatment. The lack of regulation and certification requirements for certain staff members, and the increased use of uncertified staff to manage mentally ill population is resulting in more abuses, rights violations and instances of criminal neglect than ever before.  Montoya Shaffer can help with law cases as a great criminal defense lawyer philadelphia.

Don’t discount the volunteers

While it is best that the lead role of the mental health advocate be undertaken by someone with criminal and negligence experience, don’t discount the volunteer advocates. Many are coming out of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and what they may lack in legal training and experience they make up for with contacts and understanding of how the system works from the patients viewpoint. They can very much be the eyes and ears of a good lawyer. You should also become more familiar with the Peer Specialist designation and how persons in this role can be an asset to proving instances of criminal abuse or negligence in the mental health environment.

The changing face of mental health

With more people able to receive mental health treatment, there has also been a rise in the percent of population being diagnoses with serious mental illness. The pressure on public and community institutions to provide care for all levels of society is causing an increase in charges of criminal abuse, neglect and the violation of rights by caregivers. This can be a challenging area of criminal law to undertake as you will always be taking on public, private and government institutions. It will give you great experience in policy and procedural law too.

 

DWI

Driving Under the Influence

A charge of driving under the influence (DUI) can impact a person’s life in multiple ways. Not only can it cause a suspension of their license, but it can impact their employment as well. While it is always desirable that someone who is unsafe driving be removed from the road, the charge of driving under the influence is far more complicated than driving while intoxicated (DWI).

 

Driving under the infleunce

DWI versus DUI

Before the 90s you would always hear the charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) and it referred primarily to driving under the influence of alcohol. For the most part, these charges were cut and dry. Either a sobriety test was failed, or a blood test returned a positive about the legal limit. You could argue the Breathalyzer for accuracy, and you could also argue the legality of the “drunk vans” that got popular for a while. In the late 90s and 2000s, more jurisdictions adopted laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI). This was a part of the continued “war on drugs” to recognize that drug use could just as much impair your ability to drive as alcohol did.

The most common defense

According to experts at http://www.mfontainelaw.com/, the most common defense in a DUI case is to look for the presence of prescription medication and an unexpected side effect causing the erratic behavior. Even when there is the presence of illicit drugs in the person’s system it can be successfully argued, based upon their body type and history, whether or not the substance merited a charge or was nullified by their condition. In many instances, a DUI conviction is going to hinge on the verifiable accuracy of the testing done, and when the testing occurred. Defeat the lab and you defeat the charge, but only if you get the Top Edmonton Criminal Defence Lawyer.

Bringing in a challenge to the test

Bringing in a challenge to the validity of the test issued is easily done. You don’t even really need to hire an expert but can use submitted precedents citing findings on the validity of the tests as your proof. Many courts will allow this for admission. You can also challenge based upon the time frame of the substance. To do this you must present an expert who can reliable explain the passage of the substance through the body and whether or not evidence of it in the blood stream also means that it would be impairing judgment and ability in operating a vehicle.

Fraud

Benefit Fraud

The days of cut and dried cases of benefit fraud are long gone. Changes in benefit structures, plans and procedures have resulted in some people being charged with fraud who had no intention of committing fraud. It has also opened the door for other people to commit even greater acts of benefit fraud than ever before. What you cannot do is assume that you know what has happened until you have looked at all the influencing factors in the case being made.

Who commits benefit fraud?

While the public and media have a continued perception of the majority of benefit fraud being committed by those trying to take advantage of social welfare systems, some of the greatest cases feature multi-million dollar salaried CEOs and high powered city officials. In fact, some of the most complicated cases come out of city hall. When it comes to benefit fraud among the welfare class over half of the cases stem from a misunderstanding of the regulations, or a simple desire to try and get by a little easier. With careful planning, these charges can be reduced easily. It is the higher value fraud that involves public trust that you have to be most careful about.

What if the fraud hasn’t happened but is planned?

According to experts from http://www.dreishpoon.com/personal injury attorney queens ny, There have been several precedents in recent years of city officials being charged with benefit fraud that hasn’t even happened yet. Certain approvals of benefit packages that are in direct violation of the federal or state law are frequently approved by councils. This can be difficult to defend against as the power of public opinion can swiftly swing against you. The best bet is to look toward the intent. Top accident and personal injury law.

What if the benefit itself is the fraud?

If the charges stem from the benefit itself being determined to be the fraud then you also have to consider intent as well. There were numerous cases of former city service persons being charged with criminal fraud because they were collecting a pension and salary, along with disability. This wasn’t something that was unheard of or unacceptable in the 80s and 90s, but the crash of the economy turned this type of compensation into a criminal activity. The difficulty with defending against a charge of criminal benefit fraud is that so much of the criminality is determined not by law, but by public opinion. Being aware of the trend of opinion in the area is going to help you determine the course of your defense.

 

Different Law States

Criminal Restraint

Charges of criminal restraint have usually been levied at police and correctional officers, but there is a surge in cases coming forward against hospitals and assisted living facilities. Much of this has to do with changes in the demographics of those receiving care, the state of their power of attorney, and whether or not the facility is in contract to allow the use of 4 point restraints. While chemical restraints are also increasing in popularity, the hot bed issue is charges of physical restraints.

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When hospitals outsource mental health crisis care

Decades ago, policies and laws changed to provide persons seeking mental health crisis care with more protection for their basic human right. Part of this revision included banning 4 point restraints unless deemed absolutely necessary was put into practice. There was a corresponding increase in education of healthcare providers about effective intervention practices and chemical restraint options. During the past two decades hospitals have begun to outsource their mental health crisis care units to independent corporate care providers. Many of these care providers come with a different terms of agreement with much broader definitions of necessity for restraints. In many cases there are cases charging criminal restraint in violation of HIPAA and patient rights by these corporations. The question is whether a hospital and care corporation can create a legal contract that allows them to circumvent the law in restraining patients.

Pending legislation about 4 point restraints and Alzheimer’s patients

According to experts at MyRights Immigration, In Rhode Island there is pending legislation to institute the use of 4 point restraints on Alzheimer’s and nursing home patients who are considered to be fall risks. This radically changes the definition of necessity that is the boundary of a criminal restraint charge. While the law is being promoted by the son of a woman who fell and died in a home as she walked unaided, many see this as an affront to the basic human dignity of a population that should be protected.

The test of durability

At the core of these charges is a test of the durability of the power of attorney signed upon entrance to a crisis care facility or care facility. Currently the determination of when a patient passes in and out of competence is left to the person determining the necessity of restraints. For criminal charges to apply, there must be a verifiable lack of review process of competence in order to pre-authorize the use of restraints. Get a denver immigration attorneyDenver Colorado top immigration attorneys. We protect your rights.

 

Law and Order

Order Compliance

Order compliance is the backbone of the criminal justice system. In the sequence of resolving charges, and filing them, compliance becomes the standard by which admission can be measured. A lot will depend on the judge issuing the order and receiving the documentation of compliance. More will depend on how well the process is tracked from the moment the order is issued to the determination of fulfilment.

Due process

The due process of the order compliance is really only an applicable issue when it is discussed before the order is so noted.  It is in the moment of issuance that the order must be amended and challenged, not after you have discovered that there are problems in implementing it. It is a safer bet to move for restrictions on the order to assure that due process is achieved by making sure there are as many opportunities for compliance possible, with a broad enough  time frame to make the compliance practical.

Challenging notification

You must have a set standard for notification in your office that is within the legal framework and not deviate from that standard at all. Having a chain of process in the office from receipt of an order to logging and receiving is necessary. Having this documentation will be necessary if you have to challenge notification. By arguing for an admission of a procedure log you can strengthen your stand that notification was not issued properly or in a timely fashion.

Required documentation

The next thing that has to be done with all orders is a log of required process and documentation must be created. This must be the rule book by which you play in order to make sure there can be no challenges to you or your client’s compliance by the prosecutor or officer of the law.  Your client must understand the necessity of logging any action that is covered by the order with your office to make sure that there are no gray areas in existence.

Requesting extensions or revisions

best law attorneysShould you discover that you need an extension or revision to the order you must petition the court as soon as possible. Provide logs of attempts at compliance and have an alternative presentation ready when you go. It does not pay to argue verbally for a revision without supporting documentation. Typically, your client does not have to be present and you often can submit a petition without an appearance as well.