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The Temporary Insanity Plea in California

In some states, a defendant can plead not guilty to a crime due to temporary insanity. In the state of California, this is not a viable plea. A defendant must be found to have been legally insane at the time of the crime, and the insanity must be of a “settled nature.” This means that the insanity must be maintained for a reasonable amount of time, though this does not necessarily imply permanence. In fact, it can be for a number of years or for a few hours.

A plea of not guilty for reasons of insanity can be a tricky defense, and if you believe this defense is appropriate for your situation, you will want an experienced and dedicated defense attorney to handle your case. If you have been charged with a crime that you committed due to mental illness, contact a San Jose criminal attorney at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., to discuss your case by calling (408) 296-4100.

Defining Insanity

Because temporary insanity does not exist in the California legal system, it is important for you to understand how the state defines “insane.” The following characterize insanity:

  • The defendant does not understand the nature and quality of his / her act
  • The defendant cannot distinguish between right and wrong

The following does not characterize insanity:

  • A personality or adjustment disorder
  • A seizure disorder
  • Addiction to or abuse of mind-altering substances

Contact Us

The San Jose criminal lawyers at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, P.C., are dedicated to helping their clients present a strong defense against the charges they are facing. If you have been charged with a crime and you would like to learn more about an insanity plea, please contact our offices at (408) 296-4100.

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