Diminished capacity and insanity are terms often confused in criminal issues. In South Florida, when we talk about diminished capacity we are talking about a mental inability, caused by intoxication, trauma, or disease, that makes the person not accountable for their actions. This means that they were not able, due to their mental status, to distinguish right from wrong. In Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Palm Beach, the person who is alleging a defense of diminished capacity, is trying to convince the state of Florida that at the time the committed the criminal act they were not aware or even capable of being aware of the nature of their actions.
The main difference between insanity and diminished capacity is that while insanity is a legal term that is grounds for an affirmative defense, diminished capacity is a medical term. In South Florida, while insanity may consist of a full defense in a criminal trial, diminished capacity is a way of pleading to a lesser crime.
When dealing with cases of diminished capacity or insanity, it is crucial to speak to a lawyer who is qualified and experienced. If someone you know is being accused of a crime in the counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami, and you believe the person was not capable of knowing the nature of their acts, you should call a South Florida criminal attorney for a free appointment.