The Diminished Capacity Defense to a Crime

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TRANSCRIPT: Unlike insanity, “diminished capacity” is not a complete defense to a crime. A plea of diminished capacity means you committed the crime, but you did not have the mental capacity to reach the intent element of the crime. Additionally, a plea of diminished capacity usually results in a lesser conviction, not an acquittal or not guilty verdict. Diminished capacity can be caused by a mental condition, disease, trauma, or intoxication. For example, if Joe gets drunk and pulls out his knife and stabs someone at the bar, he might be found guilty of manslaughter instead of murder. Joe could argue as a result of his drunken state he could not form the intent necessary to commit a premeditated murder.

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