Posted On: August 3, 2010

Mental Capacity and A Criminal Act: Part II

To successfully mount the defense of insanity in Florida criminal courts,( Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach), the accused (arrested) defendant must prove that the/she was insane at the time the criminal act occurred. Insanity before or after is not a defense. Further, that the mental deficiency must be related to the specific criminal charge. Insanity in general is not a defense to an arrest or criminal law prosecution in South Florida criminal courts. In Florida criminal law the word “sanity” addresses the issue of one's ability, at the time of the act, to understand and distinguish the difference between right and wrong. This is called the McNaughton rule. The rule goes to the ability to understand the nature and quality of a defendant's act, and its consequences. In South Florida criminal law insanity goes to one's capacity to distinguish right from wrong. For more information on defenses to crimes in South Florida, whether it be a drug offense, murder, burglary, violation of probation, or other drug-related offenses, such as possession of cocaine or possession of methamphetamine, contact a South Florida criminal defense attorney. If you've been arrested in South Florida the first thing I suggest you do is speak with a South Florida criminal defense attorney as to other legal defenses you might have, including self-defense, entrapment, and a due process argument to prevent a South Florida Criminal Court from prosecuting you for the an alleged crime in Florida.

Continue reading " Mental Capacity and A Criminal Act: Part II " »

Posted On: August 2, 2010

Defenses: Insanity Criminal Culpability and Competency

In South Florida, as in most states; criminal responsibility for the vast majority of crimes requires intent. A person who is under a mental disease or defect, or is incompetent to stand trial, has the defense to criminal charges of competency or insanity. In South Florida, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, very few successful insanity defenses have been litigated in South Florida criminal courts. The reason is insanity has fallen in disfavor with the legislature and most judges and juries. A South Florida criminal defense attorney can explain the trends in the charging and prosecuting of drug crimes, burglaries, robberies, and violations of probation, where the defense of incompetency or insanity has been rejected. Do not confuse insanity with competency. Insanity is the inability to form the requisite criminal intent due to mental disease or mental defect. Competency goes to an individual's current state at the time of the prosecution: if a person under arrest and facing a criminal trial in South Florida cannot effectively assist counsel, and is unaware of the function and role of the judge, a criminal defense attorney, and a jury, then the defense of incompetency to prosecution is raised by the criminal defense attorney. Incompetency merely delays the prosecution for up to two years, during that time the state has the duty to assist in the restoration of competency. For more information call or e-mail your favorite South Florida criminal defense attorney, or contact my office.