Insanity Defense & Substance Abuse

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    Mental Illness

    • A mental illness is a disorder of the brain that results in an individual having difficulties coping with the daily demands of life. It is considered a medical and/or psychiatric diagnosis.


    • "Insanity" is a legal term, not a medical term. The insanity plea is used as a defense plea when trying to prove a defendant had a mental disability that interfered with his ability to know the difference between right and wrong or to appreciate the crime that was committed.

    Substance Abuse

    • Substance abuse is the use of harmful, mind-altering substances. The substances may be voluntarily or involuntarily ingested.

    Voluntary and Involuntary Substance Abuse

    • Consuming substances consisting of alcohol, illicit drugs and any other element voluntarily for mind-altering purposes is voluntary substance abuse. Involuntary substance abuse is forced medication resulting in an individual becoming dependent upon the substance.

    Settled Insanity

    • Settled insanity is recognized as a permanent condition resulting from substance abuse. The settled insanity plea cannot be used until it is determined the defendant sustained a mental disorder or brain defect as a result of substance abuse.

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