Question: My wife was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by her psychiatrist two weeks ago. Last week, after drinking wine at home with me, we got into an argument about her mother living at our house and she got in the car and drove away. Unfortunately she only made it about a mile and she got stopped by the police who charged her with DUI.
She was having a manic episode and I think she started to run away from the cops. The cops chased her and had to tase her to get her into the police cruiser. When she gets in those moods, or has those episodes, she's sometimes uncontrollable, and she'll do some pretty crazy stuff. One time she tried climbing a tree in our backyard; and the time she took her clothes off and ran around the block screaming something about the Game Of Thrones”; another time she said she wanted to do archery practice at 3:00 AM, but I wouldn't let her use the bow because I thought she'd hurt herself or someone else.
I've been reading your blog and I know your firm has an expertise and specialty in people with bipolar disorder and other mental issues.
She definitely needs a Cherokee County DUI lawyer who understands mental health concerns and can relay those issues to the prosecutors. Or else the solicitors might just see her as a nutjob with a drinking problem. Because she's not a nut and her drinking, I think, is directly tied to the bipolar.
The bipolar is getting worse; it was never this bad. The manic phases are getting worse and I think she needs an attorney who understands that treatment is better for her than jail. I mean she's a mother of four kids, she graduated from the University of North Georgia and she's very active socially with friends. So she's a good person, even if she has an alcohol issue or mental illness.
B.C. in Woodstock, GA
Answer: We handle many DUI cases where bipolar disorder is involved. In fact, bipolar disorder affects around 3.5 percent of the population.
A characteristic of bipolar disorder is extreme mood swings. Moods can swing from euphoric to severely depressed.
Studies have demonstrated that drinking alcohol can often amplify these mood swings. Indeed, people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder are more likely to struggle with the symptoms of alcohol misuse. About 45 percent of people with bipolar disorder also have an alcohol use disorder. And if you drink in excess, your risk of relapsing into a manic or depressive episode increases.
In cases where bipolar or other mental issues are involved, it can often help a legal outcome if the prosecutor and judge are told that the disorder exists and that it's being treated.