In television movies and crime shows, lawyers are constantly pleading that their clients are not guilty by reason of insanity. This allows their guilty clients to spend easy time in an institution before quickly being released back into the public. In reality though, most Carlsbad criminal defense attorneys are hesitant to invoke the insanity defense even if there is sufficient evidence to prove that their client was not in his or her right mind at the time of the incident. Here’s the reason the insanity defense is used in less than one percent of criminal trials.
First, it’s worth noting that finding a client not guilty by reason of insanity is different than determining if someone is competent to stand trial. Competency to stand trial is based on a person’s mental state at the time of the trial, while the insanity defense is based on the person’s mental state at the time the crime took place. If a person is incompetent to stand trial, the trial will merely be postponed until he or she is declared competent. On the other hand, if a person is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he or she will be committed to a mental health facility until the person is found to have been fully recuperated.
It’s largely because those who are found not guilty based on an insanity plea are still confined that the defense is so rarely used by experienced San Marcos defense lawyer. In fact, studies have shown that those who are committed as a result of an insanity defense tend to spend more time incarcerated than those found guilty of the same crime.
As for proving that someone was legally insane, Escondido criminal attorneys hoping to use this defense must be able to show that at the time the crime was committed the defendant had some type of mental disease or defect that showed he or she was incapable of knowing or understanding the nature or quality of his or her actions and from being able to distinguish between right and wrong. As we have mentioned before, this defense would work for Bruce Banner, Bucky Barnes (AKA The Winter Soldier) and for Chang of Community, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right defense for anyone. Unless a person is mentally ill to the point where they could truly use the help provided through commitment, it is rarely beneficial to a defendant.
If you still aren’t sure whether or not the insanity defense may benefit you in your particular case, please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with top Encinitas criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Dima Bushkov