My mother is mentally ill and dealing with several legal issues. How do I help her?

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My mother is mentally ill and dealing with several legal issues. How do I help her?

I live far away from her and she has had 2 run
ins with the law in Boise ID. One is for a DUI
and the other if for destruction of property.
She is schizophrenic and I do not have the
money to hire a lawyer, is there anything I can
do to try and get her the help she needs
instead of jail time?

Asked on October 19, 2018 under Criminal Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have a legal guardianship over her, you cannot take action on her behalf, negotiate with the authorities, etc. Mental illness or not, so long as she has not been ruled to be incompetent to manage her own affairs by a court and had a guardian appointed, she is presumed to be competent and is responsible for her own legal situation.
If you don't have the money for an attorney, try contacting your state's adult protective services agency, the Legal Services Corporation, and/or local law schools which may have a "clinic" where students, under professor supervision, provide assistance to those in need; also contact your state bar association and see if they have a referral list to attorneys who will provide help on a "pro bono" (volunteer or free) basis. You need legal advice to see if having her declared incompetent (assuming the medical and pyschiatric evidence supports that) and you appointed her guardian makes sense and, if it does, to help you make that happen.


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