Asked in Criminal Law for Arkansas

Q: Is it grounds for a insanity plea if I'm ordered to take a mental evaluation

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2 Lawyer Answers

James E Hensley Jr

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Conway, AR
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: Perhaps. A mental evaluation is ordered for a defendant when the Judge, your lawyer, or the Prosecutor believe you may not understand the gravity of the situation. In Arkansas, to be fit to stand trial is a fairly low burden. The defendant must 1) understand the charges against him and 2) be able to assist his attorney.

For the most part, when a mental evaluation (called Act III in Arkansas) it is done to ensure the defendant is fit to stand trial. Otherwise, any defendant who is found guilty would claim mental infirmity.

By the way, actually being unfit for trial happens in a very small percentage of cases. When it does happen, the defendant is usually given a civil commitment where they stay in the medical unit of a prison or some other similar facility. The person can stay there for life when they might be out of prison in a few months.

You should discuss this very carefully with your lawyer. I hope you do well.

Stewart Whaley agrees with this answer

Stewart Whaley

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • North Little Rock, AR
  • Licensed in Arkansas

A: Mental health evals are done all the time.

Re-read the prior answer, its a very good explanation. Pay special attention to the last two sentences.

"Winning" based on a mental evaluation isn't always the best outcome or a magic bullet.

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