The insanity defense can be a very difficult road to take, but in some specific cases it may be appropriate. Only an experienced lawyer will be able to tell you if that is the right road to take. The insanity defense requires the defense prove the defendant lacked criminal intent to make him or her legally responsible for whatever crime committed.
It is important to note that if it can be proven a defendant didn’t know wrong from right, the defendant may be acquitted. The same may be true if a defendant knew the action was wrong, but was unable to control his or herself.
In Virginia, the defense must show that because of a mental illness at the time of the criminal activity, the defense must show the following three things: The defendant did not understand the character, nature and consequence of the crime; he or she was unable to restore right from wrong or; that he or she was driven by an irresistible impulse to commit the crime.
Even if found innocent by reason of insanity, it is not likely the defendant will be totally free. More likely, the defendant is sent to a mental facility instead of a prison. Oftentimes the treatment in a mental facility stretches much longer than any prison term would likely cover.
If you are facing criminal charges in a case, only a criminal defense attorney can truly assess your case and advise the best course of action for you to take. Call today for your free, initial consultation.