Mental Disease or Defect Defense in New Jersey Criminal Cases
Passaic County NJ Criminal Lawyer
Experienced criminal defense lawyer Alissa D. Hascup represents clients throughout New Jersey, including Paterson, Clifton, Belleville, and Wayne, who have been charged with offenses such as endangering the welfare of a child, stalking, and criminal sexual contact. She has successfully handled thousands of cases in New Jersey, in Superior Court (indictable/felony level offenses) and Municipal Court (disorderly persons/misdemeanor level offenses).
Ms. Hascup is a former Morris County Assistant Prosecutor, who handled a host of criminal cases during the course of her career, ranging from homicide (murder) to contempt. She also handled a number of matters where defenses were raised, including the defense of mental disease or defect.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges resulting from an incident caused by a mental disease or defect, there may be a valid defense. In such cases, Ms. Hascup understands the importance of acting quickly and efficiently to ensure that the defense is preserved and the charges are handled appropriately. Contact the law offices of Alissa D. Hascup anytime for an initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.
Defense of Mental Disease or Defect in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:4-2
Defenses – Evidence of Mental Disease or Defect Admissible When Relevant to Element of the Offense. N.J.S.A. 2C:4-2 provides:
Evidence that the defendant suffered from a mental disease or defect is admissible whenever it is relevant to prove that the defendant did not have a state of mind which is an element of the offense. In the absence of such evidence, it may be presumed that the defendant had no mental disease or defect which would negate a state of mind which is an element of the offense.
This section of our Code makes clear that, whether or not the “insanity” defense is raised, the defendant’s mental state is always subject to scrutiny, this would be so because mens rea, as an element of nearly every offense, is a fact issue to be decided by a jury.
This section also concerns a wide range of mental conditions, so long as the condition is one that interferes with the formation of the mental state required for conviction of the offense. See State v. Galloway, 133 N.J. 631, 647 (1993).
Note that even if the mental disease or disorder does not entitle the defendant to a jury charge, it may still be raised as a Mitigating Factor at the time of sentencing.
Contact a Belleville NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Free Initial Consultation
Alissa D. Hascup is a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the nuances of the law and the defenses that can be raised to fight certain charges. She will use her knowledge to your advantage.
If you find yourself in a situation where you or a loved one have been charged with a criminal offense as a result of a domestic violence or other related incident in which the actor was suffering from a mental disease or defect, there may be a valid defense or, at least, compelling mitigation. Call our offices or fill out our convenient online contact form to request your free consultation today.