Sometimes, it is necessary for the court to assess an individual’s competency to stand trial. Penal Code 1368 details the process for assessing this competency. The court may decide that an individual is not competent to stand trial if they have certain mental disorders or developmental disabilities.
The team at the Simmrin Law Group can help you with issues related to your competency to stand trial. We’ll help you go over the conditions that may impact your competency in California. Get information from a member of our team by calling (310) 997-4688 today.
Defining an Individual’s Competence to Stand Trial
There are times when the court must decide if someone is competent to stand trial. Therefore, it’s important to define competency in legal terms. Individuals are considered competent if they understand:
- The purpose of the proceedings they are facing
- Their condition or status with regards to their criminal charges
Individuals must also be able to provide assistance to the members of their defense team. They have to be able to act in a rational manner while handling their case. Individuals who are not able to satisfy these conditions can be declared incompetent to stand trial.
Reasons for an Incompetency to Stand Trial in California
There are many factors that could cause the court to decide a defendant is incompetent to stand trial in California. Generally, the competency to stand trial is impacted by a person’s mental health disorders. Developmental disabilities can also impair an individual’s ability to stand trial.
There are many different mental health disorders that could lead to a lack of competence to stand trial. These disorders can be properly assessed by a mental health care professional. The state of California also uses specific definitions for “developmental disabilities.”
Development disabilities are issues that arise while someone is a minor. Individuals are considered minors until they turn 18 years old in California. Their disabilities must continue indefinitely to be considered developmental disabilities.
The Simmrin Law Group can answer all your legal questions. Call us today at (310) 997-4688.
Competency Hearings and PC 1368
In certain circumstances, a judge can order a competency hearing under PC 1368. Generally, a judge orders this hearing if they have reason to believe a defendant is incompetent to stand trial. Judges who hold this belief must:
- Enter their findings into the court records
- Question the defense lawyer to determine if they also believe their client to be incompetent
This can lead to a competency hearing. During this hearing, it is up to a defense lawyer to show that their client is incompetent to stand trial. However, a competency hearing is not the same as a criminal trial. Here, the defense does not have to prove the defendant’s incompetence beyond a reasonable doubt.
Instead, the defense has to show that there is a “preponderance of evidence” that their client is not able to stand trial. The defense can gather evidence to support their claim before the competency hearing. This often involves ordering the defendant to enroll in a treatment facility for a period of 72 hours.
This three-day stay allows the professionals at the treatment facility to assess the defendant’s condition. They can provide the court with an evaluation of the defendant’s ability to stand trial for their crimes. Find out more about how to handle a competency hearing with a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles by calling the Simmrin Law Group.
The Results of a Competency Hearing in California
A judge determines whether someone is competent to stand trial at the end of a competency hearing. If a judge finds the defendant to be competent, then the trial progresses as normal. So, what happens if the judge determines a defendant is incompetent?
In this case, the defendant’s criminal trial gets put on hold. Criminal proceedings will be suspended while the defendant receives treatment which focuses on determining if the defendant will be able to ever stand trial.
Generally, individuals in California can receive treatment for up to four months. However, the period of treatment can be extended in some cases. The exact amount of time used for treatment can vary on a case by case basis.
Ask a Lawyer Today About Your Competency to Stand Trial in California
Learn more about Penal Code 1368 and your competency to stand trial in California with the Simmrin Law Group. Our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles are fully prepared to address your legal needs. Just call us at (310) 997-4688. You can also complete our online contact form.
Discuss your case with us today with a free consultation.