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Pros and Cons of the Insanity Defense


If you or someone you love was accused and charged with a crime in the state of Florida, you may wonder about using the insanity defense. This defense is often used dramatically on television, however, this very serious legal defense actually can be used to allow a defendant to admit to the commission of the crime. However, the defendant would argue that while they did commit the crime in question, they are simply not legally culpable or responsible for their actions due to their poor mental health. There are very serious positives and negatives that relate to the use of an insanity defense in a criminal trial listed below.

Pros of the Insanity Defense

In a criminal case in the state of Florida, a defendant has the legal right to plead insanity regarding the commission of a crime. However, it is important to note that under Florida law, all persons are presumed to be sane. Therefore, the defendant must prove that they are not sane and bear the burden to do so with “clear and convincing evidence.” However, if a defendant can prove this in a court of law, they will be deemed insane, and therefore not responsible for their actions. Essentially a defendant must prove one of two things: they were not able to understand their actions or they understood the consequences of their actions, but could not understand that they were wrong. If a defendant can prove one of these two points in a court of law, they may receive the right to an insanity defense and avoid jail time.

Cons of the Insanity Defense

First, the burden to prove insanity is high. Additionally, the defendant must prove that the insanity existed at the time of the crime. There are instances where a defendant may attempt to claim “temporary insanity.”  However, there is typically large skepticism from juries and judges regarding the attempt to plead temporary insanity. Television has warped many people from understanding that there are actually situations in which defendants truly were either insane or temporarily insane at the time of a crime. However, there have been some circumstances in which defendants have used this defense simply to escape punishment for their actions. Additionally, even if found to be insane or temporarily insane, a defendant may be remanded for an extensive period of time, or permanently, to a psychiatric facility instead of jail. Pleading insanity may not grant the defendant the freedom they seek.

Contact an Attorney Today

If you or a loved one are facing a criminal charge and seriously believe that you have the legal right to pursue an insanity defense, you will need to build a strong case and have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. The Fort Lauderdale criminal attorneys at the office of Joyce A. Julian, P.A. can help you determine if an insanity defense would work in your case, and what other defense options are available to you to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact our office at 954-467-6656 or visit us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal rights today.





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