The Law Firm of Powers Sellers & Finkelstein in Clearwater, Florida has years of experience in Florida working with Insanity Defense Cases. Although the Insanity Defense is one of the most controversial defenses, ironically, it is rarely used. Our Law Firm has had success asserting the insanity defense, acquiring Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdicts for individuals.

Tricky Defense Requires Skilled Insanity Defense Attorneys

Because the Insanity Defense is rarely used, many Attorneys do not have the skills or experience necessary to defend these types of cases. Our Insanity Defense Attorneys are highly trained in the area of mental illnesses and fully understand how having a mental illness can shed light on an individual’s criminal behavior. Knowing what experts to hire and how to speak their language is crucial to a successful insanity defense.

Trial Versus Negotiations

Most people do not know that an insanity plea can be negotiated with the prosecuting authority. Hiring good experts, organizing the defense in a clear and consistent manner and having a comprehensive treatment plan can lead to a negotiated resolution without the need to proceed to trial.

Does “Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” Mean I Get Out of Jail?

Yes. However, if you or someone you know is successful in asserting the insanity defense, it is highly likely that a treatment regimen will follow. There is a possibility that the State Hospital may be part of that treatment regimen. The length of treatment and the conditions that are placed on an individual are usually determined based on the severity of the mental illness, the likelihood that the person will respond to treatment and whether the individual is a danger to society. A judge can assert jurisdiction over a person for years to ensure the person is not violating conditions of release.

Insanity Defense Attorneys who Understands Mental Illnesses

Do not be afraid to ask the prospective attorney(s) about their experience in handling insanity cases. The law is very detail specific when it comes to mental illnesses. You should put your trust in an attorney who has worked with these types of cases after a lengthy discussion about whether the insanity defense is the best option.

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC will provide you with a free case consultation. We will advise whether or not the insanity defense should be considered in your case and if so, what treatment regimen is likely should your insanity defense be successful. Call our office at (727) 531-2926 or toll-free 1-855-PSF-Firm.

Insanity Defense FAQs

The insanity defense is an affirmative defense. All persons accused of a crime in the state of Florida are presumed to be sane. The defendant has the burden to show that he or she has a mental defect or illness and because of a mental defect or illness, he or she did not know what he or she was doing or the consequences or the defendant knew what he or she was doing but did not know it was wrong.

Through the use of experts, a defendant may establish that he or she was insane. The key is determining whether you were or were not insane at the time of the criminal offense.

Competency is a question that is asserted at any stage in the criminal process. A defendant may be competent one day and incompetent the next.  For a person to be tried in a court of law, he must be competent. Therefore, in order to assert the insanity defense one must be competent to make that decision.

This is important in the criminal process because one must acknowledge the criminal behavior in order to plead insanity. A defendant may not acknowledge criminal behavior if he or she is found to be incompetent. An expert is utilized in both circumstances to determine competency and/or insanity.

Not necessarily. If a jury determines that you are not guilty because you were criminally insane at the time of the offense, a judge may maintain jurisdiction over you to ensure the public is safe. This is typically accomplished through treatment. Treatment may consist of a period of commitment to a mental health facility followed by outpatient care and case management. This is accomplished through conditional release.

A judge may place conditions on your release such as medication management, curfew, intense case management and periodic appearances in front of the judge to ensure that you are compliant with your release conditions. A court may have jurisdiction over an individual found not guilty by reason of insanity much longer than it would have under a standard sentence.

Insanity requires a mental illness or defect. Heat of passion situations, such as losing control because of your temper, is a temporary behavior that does not require an underlying illness.

There are many reasons why the insanity defense should be an option for individuals accused of crimes. However, as popular as the term is, it is rarely used.  The reason is that the insanity defense is a complicated path. All defenses should be explored in any criminal case. The insanity defense is a good defense when presented correctly by qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyers. Knowing how to utilize experts and knowing what signs to look for when exploring this defense is the key to successfully asserting it.



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