Doctors may be restricted by what information they give to police thanks to the limits of patient/doctor confidentiality, but sometimes your medical record can actually help get you out of hot water rather than putting you in it. That’s why your Fallbrook criminal attorney may sometimes work with you to have your doctor speak to the police, prosecutor or even testify in your trial.
When Your Medical History Can Help You
Generally speaking, there’s no benefit to having your doctor reveal your confidential medical information and in some cases, doing so could actually hurt you if it helps prove that you meet a police profile of an offender. That is why you should always speak to your Fallbrook criminal attorney before offering to voluntarily give this information to the authorities. That being said, sometimes your medical information could actually prove your innocence.
For example, if you suffered from a severe back injury that required you to have your spinal column fused together so you can no longer bend over even to put on your own socks and the crime involved the perpetrator bending over the victim for nearly an hour -there’s no way you could have committed the crime.
Mental Health Evidence in Your Favor
Your mental health history could also protect you. For instance, if you have a debilitating fear of heights and can barely even climb up a single flight of stairs, there’s no way you could have dangled someone from the roof of a tall building even if the suspect looked like you and you are physically capable of doing so.
Mental health problems can also show the defendant lacked the specific intent to commit a crime. San Diego County also has a mental health court where certain offenders can receive treatment instead of jail or prison. In many cases, judges and prosecutors lawyers will request the defense provide a forensic psychological exam to see whether there are extenuating mental health problems or to ensure the defendant is not dangerous.
Alternatively, if you committed a serious driving offense such as reckless driving, committing a hit and run or drunk driving but you did so in order to get to the hospital in an emergency situation, under strict standards of necessity (meaning there was no alternative but to drive to get the hospital) it can be an excusable defense for the crime, and presenting proof of your medical emergency may be necessary to prove your argument.
Knowing When to Waive Confidentiality
In some cases, giving up your medical information could hurt your case. For example, if you say “I couldn’t possibly have done this because I have a pacemaker,” but then your doctor looks at your pacemaker records and sees how your heart rate may indicate that you did commit a crime, you actually just gave investigators evidence that could cement their case. That’s why it is critical to share all relevant information with your Fallbrook criminal attorney before deciding to waive your right to patient confidentiality. This is a big decision and not something to be taken lightly or decided on without considering all the possible pitfalls.
If you have been accused of a crime and believe your medical history could help prove your innocence, please speak with a top Fallbrook criminal attorney like Peter M. Liss first. You can schedule a free consultation with Mr. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050.
Image by Harlie Raethel