What does Incompetent to Stand Trial Mean?

Defendants cannot be prosecuted if they suffer from a mental disorder or are developmentally disabled so much that it prevents them from understanding the charges and the proceedings against them and are unable to assist in the preparation of their defense.  This is different from a not guilty by reason of insanity plea (“NGRI”). 


A defendant’s competency is determined through a psychological evaluation.  If they are deemed competent (most defendants are deemed competent) the prosecution of the case will moved forward.  Sometimes the evaluations will deem the defendant incompetent but restorable.  This means that presently the defendant is incompetent but can be restored to competency through treatment.  This restoration has to happen within one year from the time they are deemed incompetent. 


If the evaluation concludes the defendant is incompetent and not restorable then the case will be dismissed.  If the court feels that the defendant is a substantial risk to the community then they have the option of filing a motion in probate court to have the defendant civilly committed. 

Categories: General
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