Pittsburgh, PA asked in Criminal Law for Pennsylvania

Q: Can I use mental illness as a defense for simple assault and terroristic threats?

It was caught on camera. I didn’t have a weapon. I screamed to fight her and I chest bumped her. I was newly diagnosed with bipolar and they just changed my meds. I complained about aggression, but they said it was me getting used to the meds. Once this incident happened, I was immediately taken off those meds and I never had any episodes since. Could this be used as a defense? Could I say I was under duress? What other defenses could I use?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jonathon Luff
Jonathon Luff
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: You could use your mental health as a defense to a crime. Many counties have mental health courts that specialize in cases like this. You should speak with an attorney who has experience dealing with mental health court in your county.

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