As seen on:
1610 Southern Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL
Board Certified Criminal Trial Specialist
In Florida, mental competency is covered by Rules 3.210 through 3.215. Competency includes the ability to consult with your lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding. Additionally, you must have a factual understanding of the legal proceedings. Every stage of the criminal proceeding is governed by competency.
If the court determines the defendant is not mentally competent, any party of the court may move for a competency hearing. The defendant may be taken into custody until he is examined for competency. The court may ask up to three experts to examine the defendant. Evidence may be offered by either side of the lawsuit during the hearing.
If the defendant is found competent, he may continue with his trial. If he is incompetent, the court must dismiss the charges. The defendant will be ordered to be transferred to a mental facility or an out patient treatment center. The treatment center must produce a report of competency within six months of the date of admission. If the defendant is found incompetent, the court must order continued commitment or treatment for up to one year. The same process is continued every year.
If after five years in a felony case or one year in a misdemeanor case the defendant remains incompetent and there is no substantial probability that she will become competent and is not eligible for commitment, it must dismiss the charges without prejudice. If the defendant is found competent, the court will order the case to proceed.