While California’s criminal law allows someone charged with a crime to plead insanity, it is very difficult to succeed with this strategy. State law tends to hold individuals responsible for their actions unless their thoughts and self-control were extremely affected by mental illness.
Nevertheless, many crimes tend to be committed by people struggling with conditions like addiction, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. This includes drinking and driving. A study conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation that was published in 2007 shows a high correlation between DUI arrests and severe mental disorders. In fact, nearly 60 percent of those included in the study who had multiple convictions for DUI reported symptoms of conditions like depression, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder or bipolar disorder.
Mental illness, addiction and DUI
Having a mental health condition apart from alcohol addiction usually makes treating that addiction much more difficult. Symptoms can interfere with the treatment process and make certain therapies impossible or inappropriate. As a result, addicts, many of whom use alcohol to self-medicate, are likely to get arrested on suspicion of DUI multiple times in their lives.
While there is no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol, there often is an explanation other than indifference to public safety. Unfortunately, the law does not always recognize this. Whatever the cause of your drinking and driving, you could receive punishment that does little to nothing to treat your underlying conditions, as opposed to proven treatment techniques.
Your best chance at getting a fair outcome for your DUI case is to work with an experienced defense attorney to argue on your behalf and protect your rights.