Having to deal with criminal charges can cost you more than time and money. It can also have a toll on your mental health. Even being arrested and then released without charges can negatively affect your well-being.

Last year, a study released on the subject examined data on a sampling of adults aged 18 to 32. The subjects are participating in a long-term survey about their lives, including their physical and mental health. Some of those surveyed reported various encounters with law enforcement, ranging from being arrested but not charged, to convicted of a crime and sent to jail or prison.

The criminal justice system and mental illness

The researchers found increased reports of depression and stress among those who had some sort of contact with criminal law. The author of the paper noted that her team’s research did not include the effects of incarceration on mental health, but previous research has shown a clear negative connection between jail or prison time and mental well-being.

The fact that just being detained by the police for a short while can cause you to develop stress or depression is staggering when you consider how many people get arrested in Chattanooga every day. Even those whom the police release without charge carry that trauma back to their homes, neighborhoods and workplaces.

Criminal charges and your mental health

Then there are those who do get charged and face the scary prospect of a jail or prison sentence. Depending on the level of the charges against them, their case could take months to resolve. They might have to go to trial to defend themselves. Even if they are eventually found not guilty or the prosecutor drops the charges, they could have to deal with significant damage to their reputation and personal relationships. It’s no wonder that people accused of a crime would be at higher risk of depression and overwhelming stress.

Your best move after being charged with a serious crime

Hiring the right defense attorney for your case can help relieve a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. An experienced defense lawyer can answer all your questions, and prepare a smart strategy designed to minimize the impact of the charges against you.