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Is Forgetting to Take Your Meds a Defense Against Charges?

Being arrested for assault or battery is stressful for anyone. However, if you have a mental illness, the situation could feel even more traumatic, especially if you forgot your medication.

Is it any defense against assault or battery to say you forgot your meds, though? Here’s when mental illness may be a defense against these charges.

Is Mental Illness a Defense Against Assault or Battery?

To be clear, mental illness is not, per se, a defense against assault or battery, even if you forget your medication. The primary way to mitigate responsibility for assault or battery on mental health grounds is through what’s called the “insanity defense.”

The Insanity Defense

Under Indiana law, if you plead the insanity defense, you must show that:

  • You suffer from a mental disease or a condition that severely affects your perception; and
  • Due to this condition, you couldn’t appreciate the wrongfulness of your conduct at the time of the alleged assault or battery.

Meaning, you must show that failing to take your medication meant you couldn’t appreciate the wrongfulness of your actions at the time.

Consequences of the Insanity Defense

If you successfully plead the insanity defense, a judge or jury may:

  • acquit you of the charges; or
  • find you “guilty but mentally ill,” meaning you’ll be sentenced like other defendants but also receive psychiatric treatment.

It’s tricky to plead insanity, but a criminal defense attorney can explain whether it’s an appropriate defense in your case.

Other Available Defenses

Even if there’s no mental illness defense open to you, it may be possible to argue that, for example:

  • you acted in self-defense based on an honest and real perceived threat;
  • there’s insufficient evidence to prove the alleged assault took place; or
  • even if the incident occurred, there’s not enough evidence to show you were the perpetrator.

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in Indiana Now

If you’re on psychiatric medication and arrested on assault or battery charges, you should hire an Indiana criminal defense attorney urgently. At Razumich & Associates, we can evaluate your claim and advise you on the best defense – call us at (317) 449-8661 or talk to us online.

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