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Lannom Williams Law Group - Providing criminal defense and civil trial practice for Wilson County, Tennessee

137 Public Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
615.444.2900
FAX (615) 444-6516
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Addiction and Mental Illness Mitigate Criminal Activity

dui, domestic, assault, addiction, drugs, attorney, lawyerI usually spend my first meeting with a criminal defense client without so much as a pen or paper in hand. I do nothing but listen intently and gently ask questions while probing the issues that led to my client being charged with a crime. An attorney may be trained in the law, but the best criminal defense lawyers are good listeners who can identify with their client's lives and recognize the problems (even if the client doesn't) that have resulted in their current state of criminal charges. When the experienced lawyer listens, they will often find that mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction (and sometimes a combination of both), surfaces as the reason for the visit to their office.

The inexperienced criminal defense lawyer, or the over-burdened and understaffed public defender, either won't take the time or doesn't have the time to learn the root of the client’s problem. Failing to learn the root cause of why the person is charged with a crime can mean the difference between freedom and incarceration and a clean record versus a lifetime as convicted felon.

Prosecutors and Judges are real people with real responsibilities, just like the rest of us. They have a lot of cases and will often be reasonable if given a compelling reason to avoid trying a case. The key is simple, if you can find a root cause of a criminal act, you can remove the cause and reduce the chance of a crime ever occurring again. By doing this, I give my client the best chance at good results and good lives.

A good lawyer will spend enough time with their client to learn that addiction is the root cause of many crimes. Once the cause is found, I and my team of paralegals and investigators, can assist the client in addressing the addiction. By helping my client to identify and complete programs provided by addiction specialists in the medical field, attend in-patient and/or out-patient treatment, attain certified completion of treatment (resulting in clean drug screens), I can then show the prosecutor, the judge, and often even the victim that, if the client is allowed to stay out of jail, they don't have to worry about them committing other crimes. Why? Because we have identified and removed the fundamental cause of the client’s alleged criminal behavior.

Mental illness often leads clients to my office with charges related to violence. When people are suffering from untreated mental illness, crimes such as assault, domestic violence, fights with business partners, and sometimes the use of firearms can result. The untreated illness deprives the person of their sense of reason which results in acting out violently which leads to criminal charges. Very often, the victims are family members who knew the client before the onset of the illness. The victims may even desire a positive result for my client but are afraid that, if the illness continues untreated, more violence will occur. 

A client's undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness must be addressed and only through years of experience can a criminal defense lawyer recognize the signs of mental illness. The client seldom recognize their own need for treatment. I recently had a client who was a young woman struggling with untreated mental illness that resulted in her being charged with several crimes across several counties. You can read about my positive case result for her here. With time and patience, I can often get my clients to qualified therapists who can diagnose the problem. With a diagnosis, I can show the client, the victim, the judge, and the prosecutor that the cause is treatable. With treatment, the fear of future crimes can be greatly diminished. I then move from the diagnosis to a specific plan of treatment. Obligating my client through the court to continued participation in treatment and their following the treatment plans and staying on prescribed medication plans, increases the likelihood of continued treatment. The victims and attorneys for the state now have a concrete plan in place to give the client the help and treatment they need which greatly reduces the chance of future violence. All judges have the leverage to force the defendant to hold to their treatment plans. 

The result is often an improvement in my client’s life and a positive effect on their case. It is not uncommon for me to obtain dismissal of the crimes in their entirety or a significant reduction in the severity of the charges once the client completes the program of treatment. My method has been successfully applied to issues of mental illness and addiction with equally positive results.

This all comes down to the fact that I take the time to learn the root cause of the crime that brings the client to me seeking help. A solid plan to address and correct the problems leads to lessened sentences, dismissal of criminal charges, and a future that is unaffected by criminal convictions. Time spent with a client by an experienced attorney who understand a client’s true issues is vital to a good defense. If you are charged with a crime, I hope you will give me the chance to help you. But, no matter which attorney you choose, please choose an experienced criminal attorney who asks about your life, your circumstances, and the facts that lead you to them. The time a skilled professional spends talking to you about your life can be the difference in the quality and outcome of the rest of your life.

Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because we mean it when we say we’re here to help you. Call us at (615) 444-3995 to schedule your confidential consultation.

In Defense of the Citizen Accused,

Frank Lannom





LANNOM & WILLIAMS
137 Public Square Lebanon, TN 37087
Via Phone: (615) 444-2900 Via Facsimile: (615) 444-6516 Toll Free: (866) 820-4457

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511 Union Street, Suite 1850 Nashville, TN 37219
Via Phone: (615) 313-3999

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