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What happens when an adult is declared incompetent to stand trial?

El Paso, TX |
Filed under: Criminal defense

also what happens after that person is brought back to compentency how does this affect that peson[s life and rights?

Attorney Answers 3


While the person is incompetent, s/he cannot be put to trial on any charges. When they are returned to competency, generally by medication, then they can be tried. This is not the same as insanity. If a person is insane at the time that they committed an offense, then they are found not guilty by reason of insanity. Competency means that they do not understand what is going on, generally, and that they cannot help their lawyer with their defense.

Although I have answered the question to try to help you, you should consult with a lawyer in your area in person on the matter. In addition, my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us.

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Thank you for the answer. If the defendant was diagnosed w/ personality disorder (believes there's a conspiracy) before attempting to attack someone what would be the best defense? Defendant was found incompetent is now in a treatment facility anywhere from 4 months to a year.

Cynthia Russell Henley

Cynthia Russell Henley


I really am not in the position to answer this. A lawyer needs to review all the evidence and statements and to have a in-depth understanding of the defendant's mental health issues and the effect on his behaviors. While a person may not be insane, his mental health issues could definitely affect his reasoning abilities to the point that he makes mistakes or conclusions others wouldn't. This could be good or bad - most situations are judged by the "reasonable person" standard - although some are judged from the defendant's point of view.


So long as an individual is incompetent the case against the person cannot proceed. There is generally a statutorily provided for period of time in which the state has to have someone made competent by way of treatment. This period of time may vary from state to state; in Michigan for example the statutory provided period of time is 15 months. If the person cannot be made competent during that period of time the state is precluded from prosecuting that person. If they are made competent during the provided for time period than the criminal prosecution picks up where it left off.

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the above responses are correct, if determined to be incompetent for trial, the person will be evaluated and with either medication or therapy it will be attempted to return them to competency. At such a time, the person will then be tried for the offense. This is not the same as insanity.

Good luck

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