Insanity Defense in Georgia

One of the most common defenses we hear about in criminal law is the insanity argument. However, there are four different tests for insanity, and it can be difficult to understand the differences between each one. Georgia uses a modified version of the M'Naghten Rule, and it turns on whether the accused was able to distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the crime. Although it sounds simple, it is important to hire an experienced Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to help defend you. Lawson and Berry have over 50 combined years of criminal experience so let their experience work for you. 

Georgia Law O.C.G.A. §16-3-2 Outlines the Insanity Defense

A person shall not be found guilty of a crime if, at the time of the act, omission, or negligence constituting the crime, the person did not have the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong in relation to such act, omission, or negligence.

Therefore, the rule in Georgia concerns the accused's ability to distinguish right from wrong. If the defendant is legally insane at the time of his criminal act, no criminal liability will be imposed.

The burden of proof is on the defendant to prove insanity by a preponderance of the evidence while the State must prove sanity beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant does not present any evidence for the jury to conclude that the defendant did not know right from wrong when they committed the criminal acts, then the insanity defense will not apply. 

To show the accused was insane at the time of the commission of the offense, it is relevant to introduce testimony showing their mental condition at the time of the crime and their mental state before and after the offense. Showing their condition before and after can help prove the accused's state at the time the crime was committed.

Georgia Case Law on Insanity

Georgia courts have found that a defendant cannot use the insanity defense where they do not introduce any evidence of insanity. McBride v. State, 314 Ga. App. 725, (2012). In that case, defendant was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery as well as other things. He claimed he was insane at the time of the crime and that he should be acquitted of all charges. However, he did not introduce any evidence or testimony that he did not know the difference between right and wrong when he committed the acts. Therefore, he was convicted of his charges. 

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If you believe the defense of insanity applies to your case, contact our offices today. Lawson and Berry have significant criminal defense experience and know how to expertly demonstrate that you were insane at the time of the offense. Don't believe that a charge is the same as a conviction. We can help! Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation and start preparing your defense.

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The time is now to start preparing your defense! Many times people lose the opportunity to put on their best defense because they wait. The importance of hiring a lawyer from the very beginning cannot be overstated! Waiting allows for witnesses to leave the area, evidence to be lost, and memories to fade. All of these have a direct effect on the successful on your case. The time to begin your case and start prepping your defense is now! Contact us today to put on your best Georgia criminal defense!