My 18 year old son has recently run into trouble with the law. I am having a hard time getting his attorney to understand that his ADHD and learning disabilities make him vulnerable to “talking without thinking.” His issues with concentrating, focusing, and his impulsiveness also make things more difficult. I would like to find someone to work with my son who understands his disability and its impact on the situations he has gotten himself into. Are there legal resources for individuals with disabilities who run into trouble with the law?
Unfortunately, many criminal lawyers are not very familiar with disabilities and their impact on behavior. It would be especially hard to find an attorney with expertise in ADHD and LD. It is also important to know that, while state laws vary, unless a defendant lacks the mental capacity to understand right from wrong or to control their behavior due to insanity or severe cognitive disabilities, disabilities such as ADHD may not be a legal defense for the action but may be relevant as a mitigating factor in determination of the sentence.
To find a knowledgeable criminal lawyer, you may be able to get assistance from the local Bar Association or get referrals from the local public defender’s office. If you are already involved with clinicians working with your son that are knowledgeable about ADHD, you might try to arrange for the clinicians to consult with the attorney. The clinicians may also be familiar with attorneys that they have worked with before that are already familiar with ADHD.