When Individuals with Developmental Disabilities Become Involved in the Criminal Justice System: A Guide for Attorneys (Updated August 2018) (The Arc of Northern Virginia)


This guide is offered as a free resource for attorneys who may work with people with developmental disabilities in the justice system. Our aim is to assist attorneys in understanding the possible presence of a disability in a client, how to fully identify that disability, and offer some ideas on appropriate ways to defend that person in a criminal prosecution. Cases are so individualized that this guide could never hope to be fully comprehensive, but it is meant to offer a solid foundation. The guide will not provide legal advice. This guide will share information about community-based resources to help people with disabilities. Once people with developmental disabilities leave the public school system, either at age 22 when they age out or earlier when they graduate, there are NO mandated public services and supports available. Public services that do exist often have long waiting lists and limited support options. A lack of supports can quickly lead to entanglement in the justice system.


Collaboration Disability Characteristics Independent Living Parent/Family Professional Resources Self-Determination Transition