Mental Incompetence at Time of Trial

Mental Incompetence at Time of Trial

Mental incompetence is a defense strategy used to protect a person who is accused of a crime but lacks the mental acumen and intelligence to know that their alleged actions were illegal.

A person accused of a crime has an unassailable right to understand the charges against them and be able to actively contribute to their own defense. If the accused cannot understand the matter at hand, or participate with logic, they should be deemed to be legally incompetent.

If a person is found to be mentally incompetent, thus unable to stand trial, they cannot be convicted of a crime. When any doubt exists, competency must be established before a defendant is made to stand trial. This measure is done to preserve the right to due-process and carry out a trial only if it can be a fair trial.

The determination of the competency of the accused is determined by the judge. At any time in the process, the defense lawyer, prosecutor, or judge can question the mental competency of the accused.

How Is Competency Assessed

With consideration of fairness to the accused, and the need for accountability in the justice system, there are steps used to evaluate mental competency. Quite often, these steps include a professional psychological evaluation. In doing such an evaluation, some of the points to be considered are:

  • ability to understand and process information
  • ability to communicate with your lawyers
  • ability to understand the nature of the charges and ramifications

Defense Lawyer in Cherokee County GA

If you need help with criminal charges in Georgia you need to consult with a defense attorney as soon as possible. Any criminal charges can be devastating to your freedom, personal relationships, and ability to get a job. Contact a criminal defense lawyer online or call 770-956-1400.