Southern California Insanity Defense Attorney
Using Insanity as Your Defense
If you have been arrested in Southern California and you are now facing allegations of a criminal offense, then you have every right to be scared, confused, overwhelmed, etc. The penalties you can face if convicted can negatively alter your future and livelihood. However, if mental illness played any part in your criminal act, then your mental health may come into question in a way that could drastically affect the outcome of your case.
What Is the Definition of Insanity?
Insanity is defined as a state of derangement which manifests as a lack of understanding or an incapacitated mind.
You are considered legally insane under California law if:
- You do not comprehend the nature of your act, or
- You are unable to distinguish between what is right and wrong
A certain level of mental capacitation is required by law to enter into some relationships or to be held responsible for your behaviors. Therefore, if you suffer from a mental illness such as schizophrenia or you lack the capacity to soundly make safe, well thought out decisions, then the ruling of your case could depend on the determination of whether or not you are deemed legally sane.
In order to ensure that your legal rights are fully maintained during sanity hearings and determinations, you should not hesitate to contact a Southern California mental health lawyer as soon as charges are pressed against you.
When Can Insanity Be Used as a Defense?
People who suffer from mental incapacitation such as insanity may be unaware of their condition, and this is particularly true for those who experience sporadic episodes of mental instabilities. For this reason, a plea of mental incapacitation can sometimes be used as a line of defense when criminal behaviors are engaged in on behalf of the mentally ill.
When the insanity defense is employed, a mentally ill or psychiatrically ill person claims that their mental health problems make them exempt from responsibility for their actions - criminal or not. If you believe that your mental sanity was in question at the time of your criminal behavior, then an insanity plea could be used to validly challenge the allegations against you.
In order to ensure that your case is properly attended to by a skillful professional in the field, you must find a lawyer who is more than familiar with the accusations that you are up against. Evaluations and testing will need to be done in order to determine an insanity claim, and expert legal defense will help challenge the arguments brought by prosecution.
Strong Advocates for Mental Health Defendants
At Lessem & Newstat, LLP we have the knowledge and skills you need to confidently take an insanity defense to court if appropriate . With a thorough understanding of the history of the M'Naghten Rule, as well as what it takes to employ an NGI plea, there is virtually nothing in the mental health arena that we are unprepared to handle.
Schedule a free consultation to discuss your insanity plea with an associate from our firm. Contact a Southern California mental health attorney today.
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