One kind of defense against a criminal charge is the mental health defense. If you have been accused of a crime and would like more information on the standards for pleading mental insanity, you need an experienced and aggressive defense attorney to examine and build your case. The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida can help. Attorney King will take a personalized approach to your case and frame applicable state-specific criteria for mental health defense around your circumstances. As she gets to know each of her clients one-on-one, she will build a defense strategy that is both tenacious and compassionate. After all, each person has a story, and as a former public defender, Attorney King will make sure her client’s story is deservedly heard.
According to Florida law, all people are initially presumed to be sane. This means the law assumes a defendant is sane until that defendant can prove otherwise. So, the defendant bears the burden of proving their insanity, which they must prove by “clear and convincing evidence,” a rather high standard to meet.
To prove this, you must first show that the insanity existed at the time the alleged crime occurred. Note that insanity need only exist at the time of the crime, so it is technically possible for a defendant to claim “temporary insanity,” which holds that they were only insane for the short duration in which they committed the crime. In such a case, it is quite possible for the defendant to be found competent and sane during the trial (perhaps due to treatment) but still be able to argue an insanity defense based on their mental capacity at the time of the alleged crime.
In addition, the defendant must also show that, due to the insanity, they either were unable to distinguish between right and wrong or otherwise didn’t understand what they did because of a “disease of the mind.” This is referred to as the M’Naghten Rule, which governs Florida’s statute for the insanity defense.
The M’Naghten Rule is when the defendant either:
This test focuses on whether a defendant knew the nature of the crime or understood right from wrong at the time it was committed. Thus, in order to be declared legally insane under this test, a defendant must satisfy one of these two criteria. Be aware that in applying this test, courts may differ as to whether the “wrong” in question refers to moral wrong or legal wrong (or even both).
When it comes to criminal cases, the mental health defense can be used in various ways. In some cases, it can be used to show that the defendant was not in the right frame of mind at the time of the crime and therefore cannot be held responsible for their actions. In other cases, it can be used to show that the defendant is not competent to stand trial. The mental health defense can be a powerful tool in a criminal case, but it is important to understand how it works and when it is applied.
The mental health defense is a legal defense that can be used in criminal cases. It is based on the idea that the defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime was such that they should not be held responsible for their actions.
There are numerous mental health disorders that can serve as the foundation for a mental health defense. Some of the more common ones in West Palm Beach include:
It should be noted that the mental health defense is different from an insanity plea. An insanity plea is based on the idea that the defendant was so mentally ill at the time of the crime that they did not know right from wrong. The mental health defense is not based on this premise.
The mental health defense can be used in two different ways in a criminal case. The first way is to use it as a basis for showing that the defendant was not in the right frame of mind at the time of the crime and therefore cannot be held responsible for their actions. This is known as an “affirmative defense.” To use the mental health defense in this way, the defendant must present evidence that they suffered from a mental health disorder at the time of the crime. This evidence can come in the form of testimony from witnesses, medical records, and expert testimony. If the defense is successful in showing that the defendant was not in the right frame of mind at the time of the crime, the jury may find the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity.
The second way the mental health defense can be used is to show that the defendant is not competent to stand trial. This is known as a “defense to competency.” To use the mental health defense in this way, the defendant must show that they are suffering from a mental health disorder that prevents them from understanding the nature of the charges against them or participating in their own defense. If the defense is successful in showing that the defendant is not competent to stand trial, the court may order a mental health evaluation. The case may be dismissed if the evaluation determines that the defendant’s mental state renders them unable to stand trial.
There are a few risks that come with using the mental health defense in a criminal case.
It is important to note that even if the jury does not believe the mental health defense, the defendant may still be found not guilty if they can prove that they are not guilty on another basis. For example, if the defendant can prove they were not the one who committed the crime, they will still be found not guilty.
One of the main goals of the criminal justice system is to protect society from dangerous people. If a defendant is found not guilty by reason of mental illness, the focus on rehabilitation will shift from punishment to treatment. This will help ensure that the defendant receives the treatment they need so that they can eventually reenter society. This can be a more humane way of dealing with people who have mental health disorders, rather than a forced prison sentence with no hope for rehabilitation. Imprisoning people with untreated and unsolved mental health disorders leads to future problems when they exit the prison system. They will eventually commit more crimes because their underlying issues were not addressed.
Mental health defense can also help to de-stigmatize mental illness. Often, people with mental illness are seen as criminals when they have not done anything wrong. By using the mental health defense, it can help to show that people with mental illness are not criminals; they are just sick and need help. This can help to break down the barriers that people with mental illness face when it comes to getting treatment and reentering society.
In some cases, the mental health defense can also help to show that the defendant is not a danger to society. This can be helpful in cases where the defendant is facing a long prison sentence. If the jury believes that the defendant is not a danger to society, they may be more likely to give a lighter sentence or even find the defendant not guilty.
The mental health defense of insanity has a very specific criteria to satisfy, and insanity must be proven by “clear and convincing evidence,” which is a higher standard than used in civil cases. If you are facing criminal charges and want to learn more about the case for an insanity defense, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. can provide an informed evaluation of your situation in light of the mental health defense