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AWARDS: $2,350,000 award to automobile accident wrongful death plaintiffs • jury acquittal – double criminal homicide • $1,000,000 award to motorcycle accident wrongful death plaintiffs • jury acquittal – criminal homicide • $465,000 award to medical malpractice plaintiff • jury acquittal – criminal homicide, recklessly endangering another person, neglect of a care dependent person • $325,000 federal jury verdict, UIM and insurance bad faith award to automobile accident plaintiffs • jury acquittal – attempted criminal homicide • $300,000 award to medical malpractice plaintiff • jury acquittal- attempted criminal homicide, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon • $300,000 award to automobile accident/ products liability plaintiffs • jury acquittal – homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, aggravated assault by vehicle DUI, aggravate assault by vehicle • $115,000 award to truck accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – murder, rape • $100,000 non-jury trial verdict to facial laceration plaintiff • jury acquittal – 1st degree Murder (capital case) • $90,000 award to premises liability/slip-and-fall plaintiff • jury acquittal – DUI, terroristic threats, carrying firearms without a license • $440,000 award to civil rights violation plaintiff • jury acquittal – theft, receiving stolen property • $135,000 award to civil rights violation plaintiff • jury acquittal – possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (PWI) • $636,000 jury verdict in plaintiffs’ medical malpractice case • jury acquittal – indecent assault, indecent exposure • $550,000 award in plaintiffs’ personal injury case • juvenile case acquittal- solicitation to commit aggravated assault, aggravated assault of unborn child • $250,000 award to mass transit accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy • $130,000 award to premises liability/slip-and-fall plaintiffs • court-appointed appellate counsel – Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversal of rape conviction • $465,000 award to automobile accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – aggravated assault • $125,000 award to automobile accident plaintiff • jury acquittal – DUI • non-jury acquittal – dismissal of armed robbery charges • $170,000 award to automobile accident plaintiffs • successful jury verdict in defense of attorney charged with legal malpractice in professional liability case • $140,000 award to injured bicyclist plaintiff • non-jury acquittal – dismissal of 2 counts of criminal homicide • $180,000 award to employment discrimination plaintiff • jury acquittal – indecent exposure • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to paternal grandparents over natural mother • juvenile decertification petition granted to criminal homicide charges – release at age 21 • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to father • jury acquittal – DUI • $90,000 award to automobile accident plaintiffs • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to mother • $50,000 jury verdict for plaintiff- passenger in automobile accident case • non-jury custody trial – award of primary physical and legal custody of minor to father • hung jury – Arson trial (no criminal punishment imposed) • $265,000 award to premises liability plaintiff • jury acquittal – delivery of a controlled substance • $125,000 award to premises liability plaintiff • jury acquittal – DUI • $190,000 award to products liability plaintiff • $150,000 award to premises liability/construction accident plaintiff • $750,000 award to prison medical malpractice and civil rights violation plaintiff • $90,000 award to automobile accident plaintiffs • $108,500 award to automobile accident plaintiff • $80,000 award to automobile accident plaintiff • $150,000 award to truck accident plaintiffs.

Criminal Law

Crimes by the Mentally Ill

Pennsylvania Mental Infirmity Defense Attorney

Some people think that mental illness and violence go hand-in-hand.  Research suggests, however, that this public perception is not accurate. Most individuals with psychiatric disorders are not violent.   Although a small percentage of people suffering from psychiatric disorders commits assaults and violent crimes, findings have been inconsistent concerning what role mental illness plays, and what impact substance abuse and other factors have,  in such behavior.

When is the mental soundness of a person a complete defense to criminal charges?

The existence of mental illness may  play a significant and beneficial role in the defense of a person charged with a serious crime. The courts and legislature in Pennsylvania recognize that the mental soundness of a person  engaged in conduct charged to constitute a criminal offense may be a complete defense to the crime charged if the person was “legally insane” at the time of the commission of the offense.

M’Naghten’s Rule” is the common law rule that legal insanity is a complete defense to a crime.   M’Naghten’s Rule is codified by our legislature in Section 315 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code.  “Legally insane” means that, at the time of the commission of the offense, the actor was laboring under such a defect of reason, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or, if the actor did know the quality of the act, that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong. If the elements of legal insanity cannot be proven, such as when an accused is “Guilty But Mentally Ill,” the accused’s mental illness still may be a significant factor in achieving a mitigated, or lesser, sentence of imprisonment or punishment by the court.

A person suffering from mental illness also may be subjected to involuntary emergency medical examination, treatment and confinement in a mental health facility.

Apart from being charged with a crime, whenever a person is severely mentally disabled and in need of immediate treatment, he may be subjected to involuntary emergency examination, treatment and confinement in a mental health facility. A person is severely mentally disabled when, as a result of mental illness, his capacity to exercise self-control, judgment and discretion in the conduct of his affairs and social relations or to care for his own personal needs is so lessened that he poses a clear and present danger of harm to others or to himself.

Under such circumstances, Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Procedures Act of 1966 and related case law permit a mentally disabled person to be involuntarily committed for up to 5 days (“302” commitment), 20 days (“303” commitment), 90 days (304 commitment), and 180 days (305 commitment) in a mental health facility.

Attorney Dennis G. Charles has defended in excess of 15,000 mental infirmity cases, and has the most legal insanity acquittals in Lehigh County’s criminal trial history.

Since 1979, Attorney Dennis G. Charles of Charles Law Offices  has defended in excess of 15,000 cases involving people suffering from debilitating mental disorders or illnesses currently categorized in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM V) including, without limitation:

Psychosis

Schizophrenia

Schizoaffective Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Major Depression

Neurocognitive Disorders

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

Mental Disorders Due To A General Medical Condition

Mania

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety Disorders

Personality Disorders

Dissociative Disorders

Disruptive, Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders

Paraphilic Disorders

Other Mental Disorders Categorized in the DSM V

Several of these individuals have been charged with murder, arson, rape, robbery, aggravated assault or other serious felony offenses.  Attorney Charles  has recorded the most legal insanity acquittals in Lehigh County criminal trial history, and has been featured on both nationally syndicated and local television programs as a result of  his extensive trial experience and legal training in representing the mentally ill, including the Arts & Entertainment Network television program “American Justice,” Court TV,  the Lifetime Movie Network television program “Killer Kids,” and AM Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer Newspaper featured Attorney Charles in a front page article entitled “Insanity on Defense.”

 

If you, or a loved one, suffer from a mental disorder or illness and have been charged with a serious crime or need legal assistance, rely upon Attorney Dennis G. Charles’ proven track record of success in presenting legal insanity or mental infirmity defenses. Let Attorney Charles’ nearly 40 years of knowledge, legal training, peerless trial experience and skill  in representing the mentally ill assist you, or your loved one, to achieve a fair, just and successful outcome.

 

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with a lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the attorneys at Charles Law Offices.

Suffering from a mental disorder or illness and charged with a serious crime?

An Impressive Track Record

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What Our Clients Are Saying

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"Attorney Dennis Charles does not give up on his clients with difficult problems. His exemplary and successful defense of an unfortunate teenager charged with double criminal homicide impressed me the most. Attorney Charles has excellent trial skills, a tremendous work ethic and very high moral values."

Farhad Sholevar, M.D. | Board Certified Psychiatrist

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A Family History of Devotion to
Law and Public Service

The Charles Brothers’ devotion to the law is derived from a family history in the legal system and of service to others. Their father, Charles “Chink” Charles (depicted in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph) held a 35 year career in law enforcement, and was selected to serve as the personal bodyguard for former United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson during their campaign visits to Allentown.

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