When you’re accused of a crime, you begin to look at your options for defense. One of the potential options you could pursue would be the insanity defense. This defense is appropriate if you have mental health conditions or a background of other related issues.
Can the insanity defense work in my case?
The insanity defense is one that can be effective, but only in some circumstances. The defense first came into play in the 1500s, when it was determined that someone who was mentally incapacitated at the time of a crime couldn’t be held liable. For instance, if someone with multiple personalities was in a different personality, how can that person be accused of a crime they weren’t aware they committed?
Current laws do still allow for the insanity defense, but you must be careful in how it’s used. The court will test for legal insanity and may use multiple tests to prove it was the cause of an incident.
What are some of the tests courts use to prove legal insanity?
The irresistible impulse test is one that states that as a result of your mental disease, you were unable to control your impulse. The M’Naughten Rule claims the defendant didn’t understand what he was doing or was unable to distinguish right from wrong because of having a mental illness.
The Model Penal Code is another test. It states that because the person was suffering a mental defect, he or she was unable to understand that the act was a crime. Finally, the Durham Rule states that regardless of a clinical diagnosis, the person’s mental defect led to a criminal act.
Source: FindLaw, “Insanity Defense,” accessed May 20, 2016