Asked in Criminal Law for Arkansas

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

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers

James E Hensley Jr

  • 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

  • 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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.