Stephen Hebscher has more than 34 years of experience representing clients charged with criminal offences who have a mental disorder, mental illness, or mental health issues.  According to the DSM-5, “Autism Spectrum Disorder” is a recognized mental disorder.  Mr. Hebscher has extensive experience representing clients “on the “Autism Spectrum”.  Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder are forms of Autism that are now subsumed under the DSM-5 definition of “Autism Spectrum Disorder”. The severity of the disorder, according to the DSM-5, is “based on social communication impairments and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior”.

Stephen evaluates all of his cases with a view to analyzing the evidence to determine whether the crown attorney (prosecutor or “D.A.” in the U.S.) can prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt.  This involves a thorough examination of the disclosure (the evidence against the client) and the client’s version of the events in question. In cases where Stephen decides the client should plead not guilty, the case will go to trial, where Stephen makes use of his extensive trial experience, and his intimate knowledge of criminal law, evidence, procedure, and strategy.

In cases where Mr. Hebscher determines that the crown attorney can prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt (this is the standard of proof in a criminal case), he discusses with his client the option of negotiating a plea bargain. The behavior of clients on the Autism Spectrum is, many times, uniquely challenging to their families and mental health professionals. Stephen’s approach is to complete a thorough assessment of the client’s issues by interviewing the parents and other involved individuals in order to determine (1) what the connection is between the client’s mental health issues and the charges he is facing and (2) what professional help is required to address the client’s needs and thus reduce his risk of reoffending.   If necessary, Stephen will obtain an assessment from a professional with experience in treating clients with Autism in order to better understand the treatment options going forward, and to provide the court with a roadmap to his rehabilitation.

Stephen has a number of mental health professionals who, depending on the charges and the client’s needs, can provide sex offender treatment and counselling, life skills training, anger management counseling, etc.  Clients with Autism require treatment, counseling, and education that recognizes their special needs, whether they are social, behavioural, and/or cognitive in nature.  These professionals have extensive experience in treating persons with Autism and other mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, as well as psychotic disorders. Many persons with Autism may have a combination of mental disorders that require a multi-pronged approach to education, treatment and counseling.

The goal here is to get the client the help he desperately needs.  Help that specifically addresses the issue of rehabilitation. By doing so, the client’s behavior and self-esteem are improved, he and his family can become whole again; and they can put the charges behind them after obtaining a favourable result.

In most cases, depending on the seriousness of the charges and the success of the treatment and counseling (as long as the client has insight and is willing to cooperate), the client can avoid a criminal record and jail.

As a caring and concerned family member you can be assured that Stephen has the experience and resources to best help your loved one, and to bring peace and harmony to your home.

Contact Stephen Hebscher anytime at 416-550-6554 to discuss the case of your son, daughter, friend or other loved one.

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