Criminal Defense Lawyer Fairfax, VA
If the defense attorney in a criminal trial can prove at the time of the crime their defendant did not know what they were doing, acted on an impulse they could not control, could not distinguish the difference between right and wrong, or other behavior considered to be insane, it is possible they could be found not guilty because of insanity. The defendant could still be found guilty of the crime, but the sentence may be different because of the insanity plea and the fact that they may be mentally impaired.
The defendant who wishes to enter a plea of insanity must inform their attorney before the case goes to trial. The attorneys, both for the prosecution and defense, will request the defendant be examined by psychiatrists selected by each side. It is the responsibility of the defense to convince the judge and/or jury the to present evidence that shows the defendant was clearly insane when the criminal act was committed. Psychiatrists for the defense cannot testify that it was in their opinion that the defendant was insane when committing the criminal act. They can only give their medical diagnosis referring to the mental illness of the defendant.
An Insane Plea Does Not Mean You will Not be Punished
If the defendant is found to be not guilty by reasons of insanity, it does not mean you are off the hook. Chances are, you will be set to a mental health facility, where you may have to stay for even longer than if you were sentenced to time in prison. Typically, states require you to stay in the mental health facility until the judge is convinced you are not legally insane anymore.
Facts about Insanity Pleas
To say that defendants who use insanity as a defense literally get away with murder, is simply not the case. Studies have shown the following:
- Contrary to what most people may think, the insanity defense is only tried in less than one percent of all felony cases, and of those cases, a full 75 percent are not successful.
- If you are found not guilty by reason of insanity, you may still face many years in a mental health facility. The amount of time you may spend in the mental health facility if frequently a longer period of time than a prison sentence.
- Not too many defendants ‘fake’ being insane; in fact, most offenders pleading insanity have a previous history of being hospitalized for mental illnesses.
- In most cases, psychiatrists from both the defendant and the prosecution are in agreement on whether or not the defendant should be classified as legally insane.
Why Would Someone who is not Insane plead insanity?
Knowing that the rate of success in pleading insane is so small, why do defendants even attempt this plea? Bottom line is, they probably have no other defense and this is the last resort.
Contact an Attorney
Consult with an experienced reckless driving lawyer Fairfax, VA offers to see if you have a case that will allow an insanity defense. Your attorney can go over the particulars of your case and explain the laws in your state and how they apply to your situation.
Contact Dave Albo – Attorney for more insight into criminal defense and insanity pleas.