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What is the Insanity Defense?

What is the Insanity Defense?

When taking a case to trial, one may be found guilty or in the alternative, if the facts are present, a defendant may be found guilty by reason of insanity. This verdict essentially states that the Defendant committed the crime. However, at the time that the crime was committed, they were not responsible for their actions because of some type of mental illness or defect. This verdict ultimately allows individuals to receive treatment for their mental illnesses, rather than be punished for them.

Legal Insanity Definition

The insanity defense is an incredibly complex topic. This is partially due to the fact that neither the legal or mental health professions have been able to agree on a single definition of legal insanity. Currently, there are two schools of thought when it comes to testing if a personal is legally insane:

– The M’Naghten Rule: This test, developed in the 1800s, is the standard used by many states for defining legal insanity. Under this test, a person is legally insane if they are unable to differentiate between right and wrong. Similarly, this has inspired the Brawner Rule, which defines criminal insanity as a lack of ability to understand the criminality of one’s actions.

– The Durham Rule: This test, also known as irresistible impulse, came around in the 1950s. It is used by many states to supplement the M’Naughten rule. Under this thought of insanity, a person is criminally insane if some type of mental defect prevents them from being able to resist committing a crime. While they may know the difference of right from wrong, they are unable to control their impulses.

What Happens If I Am Found Guilty by Reason of Insanity?

After a person is found guilty by reason of insanity, they are placed in a facility to get the help they need. Rather than jail, they are usually committed to a mental health institution. There is no set amount of time that a person is committed to one of these facilities. They generally must stay here until they have successfully completed treatment. The defendant must be able to convince a judge and their doctors that they are not longer a danger to the public or themselves.

Get the Help You Need

If your loved one is planning battling their case and has facts which may lead to an insanity defense, it is vital that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Insanity defenses are very complex and can be difficult to establish. The Khonsari Law Group can help. We will be by your side to guide you through every step of the process and help your loved one get the treatment they deserve. Call KLG today for a free consultation on your case.

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