What You Need To Know About Mentally Ill or Mentally Deficient Defendants

Under Minnesota law, a defense to most crimes is whether the defendant is mentally ill or mental deficient either at the time of the offense or in the present. According to Minnesota law, Rule 20, a defendant is incompetent and must not be plead, be tried, or be sentenced if the defendant lacks ability to rationally consult with counsel or if the defendant cannot understand the proceedings or participate in the defense due to mental illness or deficiency. A defense attorney, prosecutor, or court can make a motion to challenge a defendant’s competency at any time. In felony and gross misdemeanor cases, once probable cause is determined, the court would order an examination of the defendant’s mental condition. A medical examination would be appointed to examine the defendant. Depending on whether the Defendant is in custody, an examination can be done in a state hospital or on an outpatient basis. A defense attorney or prosecutor can also have a qualified examiner observe the examination. Afterward, a report must be given to the court and all parties which includes a diagnosis, and an opinion as to whether the defendant is mentally ill, the defendant’s mental condition, whether the defendant presents a risk of serious danger to another, whether treatment is appropriate, whether the defendant will gain competency in the future, and a factual basis for the diagnosis and opinion.

A hearing can be held of either party objects to the competency report. Depending on the outcome of the proceedings, the court case will either resume or be suspended and the defendant will be placed under a civil commitment. After three years, the charges will be dismissed unless a a prosecutor writes an objection to prosecutor when the defendant regains competency. The timeline is different for gross misdemeanor cases and different procedures exist when the charge is a misdemeanor. For more information about misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, contact Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys.

The attorneys at Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys have challenged competency in many cases in the past. If you or a friend or family member has been charged with a crime and believes there are competency issues, contact Max Keller. Max Keller offers free consultations for all individuals charged with a crime.  Please visit our website at www.kellerlawoffices.com and call 612-210-0629 for your free consultation. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to file a 20.01 motion if it is believed that a defendant is mentally ill or mentally deficient. For more information about mental illness in relation to criminal charges, contact Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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