Insanity is an overused defense or attempted defense in Arapahoe and Adams County, and across Colorado. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult when men and women who are charged with a crime are actually insane. The end result is that many criminal cases lose credibility when trying to argue the Insanity defense. Though it may be a discredited defense in the eyes of the courts and District Attorneys, it's an important defense worth discussing. With expert testimony from mental health professionals, it can be a viable defense. Let's dig deeper into the law on Insanity in Colorado.
The Insanity defense is utilized when someone is believed to have been mentally ill during the commission of a crime.
Insanity in Denver, C.R.S. 16-8-101.5
Insanity in Douglas and Denver County is pled when a person is believed to have been mentally ill when committing a crime, which kept him or her from distinguishing right from wrong. If it's legally supported that a defendant is Insane, he or she will not face a conviction for a crime. Instead, the defendant will be considered Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, and required to undergo mental health treatment. The law of Insanity states that a defendant wasn't able to understand the difference between right and wrong at the time the crime was committed. This defense is not based on the mental health of the defendant after the crime occurred.
Expert witnesses and an aggressive criminal defense lawyer are crucial when using the defense of Insanity.
Possible Outcomes for the Insanity Defense
1.Prior to the determination of Insanity, the defendant could face time in the Arapahoe County Jail.
2.After a person is determined to be Insane and receives a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity finding, the defendant will remain in custody for a lengthy period of time. This could be at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo. The length of time that a defendant could stay in custody varies—by months or even years. It depends on how long the evaluation and treatment of the defendant's mental state takes.
Insanity Defense in Jefferson County Not Always Believed
Because the defense of Insanity is hard to believe, an expert Insanity lawyer is essential. As stated before, the defense of Insanity is not always credible. District Attorneys and even those treating a defendant don't always believe that a defendant is Insane. They may think an insanity claim is just a way of avoiding a criminal conviction. This is why hearings surrounding a case of Insanity are complicated and lengthy. In a hearing, both non-expert and expert testimonies are taken into account. Expert witnesses would be psychologists or psychiatrists, who have special training and insight into what it means to be mentally ill. They require the defendant to take extensive mental health testing. The results are shared with both sides. Yet, overuse of the Insanity defense still makes it hard for the government to agree a person was insane at the time they committed an offense. A criminal defense lawyer who knows insanity criminal law is essential when utilizing Insanity as a defense.
Facing Criminal Charges in Denver? Contact the Best Insanity Defense Lawyers
Because the Insanity defense is hard for a judge and jury to believe, you need an expert criminal defense attorney who will do everything possible to defend you. The lawyers at O'Malley and Sawyer, LLC have been practicing criminal law collectively for over forty years. We dedicate ourselves completely to our clients, because we know how much is at stake. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime and you believe the Insanity defense is appropriate because of mental illness, don't hesitate to contact our office. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to speak with you. Call us today.
Insanity Defined– Offenses Committed on and After July 1, 1995 Statute: C.R.S. 16-8-101.5
“ (1) The applicable test of insanity shall be:
(a) A person who is so diseased or defective in mind at the time of the commission of the act as to be incapable of distinguishing right from wrong with respect to that act is not accountable; except that care should be taken not to confuse such mental disease or defect with moral obliquity, mental depravity, or passion growing out of anger, revenge, hatred, or other motives and kindred evil conditions, for, when the act is induced by any of these causes, the person is accountable to the law; or
(b) A person who suffered from a condition of mind caused by mental disease or defect that prevented the person from forming a culpable mental state that is an essential element of a crime charged, but care should be taken not to confuse such mental disease or defect with moral obliquity, mental depravity, or passion growing out of anger, revenge, hatred, or other motives and kindred evil conditions because, when the act is induced by any of these causes, the person is accountable to the law.
(2) As used in subsection (1) of this section:
(a) “Diseased or defective in mind” does not refer to an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise antisocial conduct.
(b) “Mental disease or defect” includes only those severely abnormal mental conditions that grossly and demonstrably impair a person's perception or understanding of reality and that are not attributable to the voluntary ingestion of alcohol or any other psychoactive substance but does not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise antisocial conduct.
(3) This section shall apply to offenses committed on or after July 1, 1995.”