Any criminal defense attorney who has been around for any period of time has handled many such cases. They are quite common. The first thing I and most of my colleagues do when accepting a new criminal case involving any level of mental illness or substance abuse, is require that the client sign a medical authorization so that we may contact the client's treating medical personnel and substance abuse counselors, obtain records and discuss prognosis, etc., When you say, "serious charges," that really doesn't describe anything. All crimes are serious, and some are capital offenses. How serious? Murder? Assault with intent to maim? Armed robbery? The more serious cases are indicted and are pending in Circuit Court. Or is the case in District Court as a second degree assault, theft or drug charge? If money is an issue, and if she qualifies for their services, then the Office of the Public Defender is her best option. The PD Office in Montgomery County is very good. Criminal cases are seldom handled on a pro bono basis (that's why the PD's Office exists). Some lawyers do accept reduced fee cases, and most will take payments. However, if the case is in circuit court, where much more is at stake and more trial prep is required, then the fees will be higher, but that can be determined by meeting and reviewing the particulars of the case. Most lawyers I know offer a free initial consultation, and after speaking to two or three, you will have a pretty clear idea of what range of fees to expect, and whether you can afford that amount, now or over time.