In order to be tried in criminal court, the defendant must competent. In order to be competent, the defendant must understand and participate in their legal proceedings
. Individuals found incompetent can raise the insanity defense. Competency is determine prior to trial.
- When Can a Defendant’s Mental Competency Be Questioned in a Criminal Case?
- Is a Court Hearing Part of the Competency Hearing Process?
- Do I Have to Prove I’m Not Competent to Stand Trial?
- What are the Possible Outcomes of a Competency Hearing?
- Can An Attorney Explain More about Competency Hearing Process?
In California, either a judge or the defendant’s attorney can question a defendant’s mental status. A judge can decide there’s a need to investigate the competency of a defendant. The judge can ask the defendant’s attorney for their opinion.
If a judge doesn’t raise the issue of a defendant’s competency, then the attorney can raise the issue. The attorney has the responsibility of providing substantial evidence about a defendant’s incompetency.
Yes. Once the competency issue is raised, the next step is a hearing. At the hearing, the court will appoint a psychologist to examine the defendant.
A defendant’s attorney has the burden of proving the defendant isn’t competent to stand trial. The proof doesn’t need to be beyond a reasonable doubt, but by the preponderance of the evidence.
The judge may decide the defendant is competent to stand trial. If the defendant is found incompetent, one of three things can happen:
- The defendant is committed to a treatment facility or county jail
- The defendant receives outpatient treatment
- The defendant is committed to a treatment center or mental hospital for individuals with developmental disabilities
Yes. Contact a California criminal lawyer about competency in criminal court in California.