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Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

Insanity And Incompetency

Insanity Vs. Incompetency To Proceed Definition And Differences In Denver County Criminal Case

Criminal charges are put on hold in any case where the defendant is incompetent to proceed (incompetency) or insane in Denver County. Where the line between these two conditions is drawn will affect how the case proceeds, because they serve different purposes in a criminal case.

Insanity (C.R.S. 16-8-101.5) Definition: Though sometimes falsely claimed, there are indeed times when a person is “so diseased or defective in mind” at the time of a crime that they are “incapable of distinguishing right from wrong” (Insanity defined C.R.S. 16-8-101). Under the right circumstances, and fulfilling the necessary criteria, a person can claim insanity in defense of criminal charges in Denver, Colorado. This will halt the proceedings and, if proven, it can result in a “not guilty by reason of insanity and dismissal of the charges.”

The key factor of claiming insanity is that the defendant is claiming insanity at the time of the crime.

Incompetent To Proceed (C.R.S. 16-8.5-102): If, as a result of current and ongoing mental health issues/insanity, a defendant is unable to proceed with their case, the prosecutor or defense attorney may claim the defendant “incompetent to proceed.” This will halt the proceedings in Adams County, and the district court judge will order a competency evaluation.

The key factor of claiming “incompetent to proceed” is that the defendant is claiming incompetence at the time of the trial or Hearing.

Legal Standards For Insanity/Incompetency Defense In Jefferson County – What Are They?

In the past, claims of insanity and incompetency have been exaggerated and falsified in Jefferson County, with people dishonestly claiming that they committed a crime in a mentally altered state of mind. As a result, good, honest people who are truly suffering from out of control mental health issues now have to go through complex steps in order to have their claim of insanity/incompetency justified.

Depending on the case, the legal standards for an insanity/incompetency defense in Littleton, Colorado, can include:

  • A competency evaluation by a mental health professional selected by the court
  • Being held in a treatment facility until competency or sanity is restored (could be dozens of years or a lifetime)
  • Involvement of expensive private experts in psychiatry and psychology
  • Complex hearings involving nonexpert (lay witnesses) and expert testimony with a high burden of proof

With these claims, you can expect a great deal of pushback from the government and its experts.

Douglas County And Arapahoe County Finding Of Insanity – What Happens Next?

Courts, district attorneys, psychiatrists and psychologists in Douglas County are highly suspicious of claims that a person is not mentally capable to proceed or was insane and not in their right mind at the time of the crime. These are difficult claims and pleas to support, and even if successful, it is not all good news.

When a defendant is found incompetent to stand trial, they can be held at a treatment facility until a mental professional deems them competent or sane enough to stand trial once again. Though the treatment might have been necessary, this means that the claim has only delayed the inevitable: trial and sentence. Of course, with insanity or insane at the time of the crime, the case will be permanently dismissed.

When an Arapahoe County defendant is found mentally insane, they can face many years or a lifetime in a psychiatric institution.

“According to the American Psychiatric Association, studies show that defendants acquitted by reason of insanity are likely to spend as much or more time confined in a psychiatric institution as they would have if convicted and sentenced to jail or prison for the same crime. One study determined insanity defense acquittees frequently spend twice as much time institutionalized as defendants convicted of a similar offense spend in correctional facilities. Additionally, once released, they may be subject to long-term judicial oversight, unlike a convict who received a conventional guilty verdict.” – PBS Frontline “Insanity Defense FAQs”

Attorney For Mental Disorder Defense In Adams County

A person cannot be criminally responsible for their actions if a mental disorder caused them to do something that they would not have done, had the psychiatric disease not existed.

The process and requirements for an insanity or incompetency plea are complex in Adams County. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime and believe that a claim of insanity or incompetency is justified as a result of mental health issues, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and contact our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at 303-731-0719 today. Together, we can protect your future.

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