Insane or Incompetent?: Criminal Defense in Illinois
There are a variety of ways that any court situation can come to a close. Ultimately, a typical verdict of "guilty" or "not guilty" will be issued at the end of a criminal court proceeding. However, other various defense mechanisms may be used in court if a client is unfit for trial. In some violent crime cases, a defense of "not guilty by reason of insanity" or finding someone "incompetent to stand trial" may be applicable to use in court. Although either may be useful given the right circumstances, they are not to be used interchangeably.
Incompetent to Stand Trial
To be considered competent, an individual must have the certain skills and abilities necessary to complete a task. With regards to a trial situation, competency is determined by the court. It is a matter of legal fact that is decided before a trial begins. A few of the prerequisites to be considered competent to stand trial include:
- The individual must be able to demonstrate cognitive ability to understand what is happening in a courtroom.
- The defendant must be capable of thinking rationally about court proceedings.
- The person in question must be able to work closely with an attorney to assist in developing a defense for their case.
The information does not mean that if someone is incompetent to stand trial that they are given a free pass on their crimes. However, if they are found incompetent and the trial still proceeds, there are multiple options for appeal should he or she be found guilty.
Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity
Not guilty by reason of insanity is not a measurable "fact" that is entered as a part of trial preparation. Insanity is a plea option that is a part of criminal defense. Just like the standard outcomes of guilty or not guilty, it is something on which a jury must agree. A criminal defense attorney must prove during trial that the accused was so mentally disturbed, unstable or incapacitated at the time the alleged crime occurred that, under other circumstances, they would not have intended to commit a crime.
If you have been charged with committing a violent crime, such as assault or domestic abuse, it is in your best interest to secure an experienced criminal defense attorney. Choosing the right legal professional for your circumstances is imperative for defending your rights and protecting your future. If you are interested in speaking with a proven DuPage County criminal defense lawyer, contact Davi Law Group, LLC today at 630-580-6373. From our offices in Wheaton, Warrenville, Joliet, and Chicago, we are proud to serve clients throughout DuPage, Kane, Will, Cook, and Kendall Counties.