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, almost Encinitas criminal defense attorney is hesitant to invoke the insanity defense in criminal law cases, 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.
Competency for Trial Vs. Insanity Defense
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 in criminal law cases 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.
The Insanity Defense Leaves You Hospitalized Indefinitely
It’s largely because those who are found not guilty based on insanity are still confined that the defense is so rarely used by experienced Encinitas criminal defense lawyer. In fact, studies have shown that those who are committed as a result of an insanity defense in criminal trials tend to spend more time incarcerated than those found guilty of the same crime.
Proving Someone Was Insane
As for proving that someone was legally insane, Encinitas criminal defense lawyer 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 fighting your particular criminal charges, please call (760) 643-4050 OR (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation with top Encinitas criminal defense attorney Peter M. Liss.
Creative Commons Image by Dima Bushkov