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.

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