People often wonder what the insanity defense is due to its popularity in television legal dramas and movies. This type of defense is, at its core, an argument on behalf of the defendant claiming that they should not be legally accountable for a criminal act due to their mental state when they committed it. While it is a well-known concept, it is often unsuccessful as a defense in criminal cases. In cases where the defense is successful, the defendant usually spends more time in a mental hospital under treatment for their condition than in prison. What happens if the defendant asserts an insanity defense? Suppose the defense alleges that the defendant lacks guilt due to their mental state. In that case, the court or either party can order a psychological evaluation to assess the defendant’s sanity and criminal responsibility. What standard determines whether a defendant qualifies for the insanity defense? The standards used to determine whether someone is insane and, therefore, not guilty of a criminal act by reason of insanity are in Kentucky’s Model Penal Code and case law. For example, according to legal precedent in Kentucky, if the individual has such a defect in their reasoning, resulting from mental illness, which leads to the individual not knowing the nature of the criminal act they committed, they may be found not guilty by reason of insanity. Defenses used in criminal cases can be complicated. Still, they are a valuable tool in criminal defense cases and, in some cases, a necessary mechanism, particularly when the defendant has certain mental conditions that impair their ability to comprehend what they are doing.The post What is the insanity defense? first appeared on Oakley & Oakley, LLC.