Mental Health Defenses and Requirements in Criminal Law

Mental health and its interplay with the criminal justice system is an often misunderstood issue. It is also a very complicated issue.  Two of the main issues that often arise when addressing mental health and how it applies to a criminal prosecution are competency and insanity.

Insanity is a legal defense. Competency is a requirement.

Before an individual can stand trial and be prosecuted, they must be “competent to stand trial.” If they are not, the prosecution will be halted until they are or potentially dismissed if they may never be again.  The defense of “insanity” is when the defense presents evidence usually from a forensic psychiatrist that the defendant was “insane at the time the offense was committed.

Both require evidence/testimony and/or reports from professional experts in the mental health field, usually a forensic psychologist.  Further, it is not uncommon for these issues to be raised together or apart, as they are not mutually inclusive or exclusive. 

Further, both have specific legal definitions that must be understood and evaluated by a criminal defense attorney before making a decision on whether or not to move forward with challenges to either, or both, of these issues.

Mental Health Defenses and Requirements in Criminal Law

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.
Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm in West Chester, PA

If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA criminal defense lawyers at DiCindioLaw, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.

DiCindio Law, LLC

29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3535