As you probably already know, Amanda Bynes was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial yesterday. Her attorney, Rich Hutton, appeared on her behalf in court yesterday, September 24, 2013, to inform the judge that Bynes “did not have the mental capacity to understand the nature of the legal proceedings.”
As a result, the judge has ordered the case to be transferred to a mental health court. There, proceedings will take place to determine if Bynes is able to stand trial.
In terms of the law, mental incompetency means that a person is unable to understand the legal consequences of their actions. Furthermore, it means that they are unable to comprehend the legal proceedings.
In terms of criminal law, a defense attorney has to request a competency hearing to determine if the defendant is able to qualify as incompetent to stand trial.
A defense lawyer may request a competency hearing for a variety of reasons. One, such as in Amanda Bynes’ case, can be due out of concern for the defendant’s life. As you probably know from the tabloids, Bynes had been acting erratically. As of now, she is currently seeking treatment in a psychiatric hospital and is under conservatorship of her mother.
Another reason for a competency hearing could be strategical. Oftentimes attorneys will seek a plea bargain or use an insanity defense in criminal cases.
Above all, it is important to understand that a court must declare you incompetent. If you know someone arrested for a DUI and worry about their competency, you should still seek the help of an experienced DUI lawyer who understands the law. To find a DUI lawyer near you, fill out this form today.