Defenses: Were You Insane at the Time?

- Lotze Mosley

There are many ways to defend oneself against a crime. One that has come up more in the media lately, but is not always understood, is that of pleading “insanity,” either permanently or at the time the crime was committed.

The Insanity Defense in Washington D.C. & Maryland

The insanity defense is an affirmative defense. This means that the defendant is admitting to committing the crime of which he or she is being accused, however, he or she wants to have the behavior excused by reason of mental illness.

The illness must satisfy the definition of legal insanity, which varies by state. There are many different tests for “legal insanity,” and each state’s test is different. Some have combined different tests into one, while others have subscribed to one particular test and codified it in their law.

Maryland and Washington D.C., for example, utilizes the Model Penal Code Rule. Under this rule, someone is legally insane if diagnosed with a relevant mental defect, and, at the time of the crime, was unable to either appreciate the criminality of his/her conduct, or conform his/her conduct to the requirements of the law.

Essentially, the defendant must:

  • Be diagnosed with a mental defect, such a several schizophrenia or a severe mental disability; and
  • Not know right from wrong; or
  • Lack the ability to control an impulse that led to the crime committed

What a Successful Insanity Defense Means

If a lawyer is successful in raising the insanity defense on behalf of his or her client, the client will not be held legally responsible for the crime committed. This means any crime, including:

  • Drug crimes
  • Homicide
  • Sex crimes
  • Property crimes
  • White collar crimes

If you, or a loved one, have been charged with a sex crime, and feel you meet the test for legal insanity under Maryland or Washington D.C. law, we recommend that you consult our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Lotze Mosley, LLP.

Our criminal defense attorneys know when it is appropriate to raise an insanity defense at trial and to prove insanity to a jury or judge. We are skilled at trial tactics and plea negotiations, as well as negotiating a favorable sentence.

Lotze Mosley, LLP, has years of experience handling criminal cases. We know this is a stressful time in your and your loved one’s lives. If you suffer from a mental disorder that may have affected you at the time, or one that you have been dealing with your whole life, we know how this adds extra stress and complexity to your situation.

We want to help. For an initial consultation, we welcome your call to our office at (202) 393-0535.