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What Happens When You Don't Remember Committing a Crime?

One of the most important thing to remember about being charged with a crime is that in order to be held responsible, it must be proven that the accused was in the proper mental state to commit a crime and they had the intent to break the law. However, when someone does not member committing a crime because they suffer from amnesia, or the loss of memory triggered by some kind of trauma, they may not be able to use this as an effective defense.

Just because someone doesn't remember committing a crime does not mean that they did not have the mental capacity to intentionally break the law. What needs to be proven when amnesia is claimed is what occurred at the time of the alleged offense. If someone does not remember a crime, it does not mean that they did not commit it, but if they were suffering from an altered mental state when the crime was committed, they may be able to claim insanity.

What does the court consider when proving amnesia?

Since amnesia is not usually a valid defense to committing a crime, it is not often used by defense attorneys. It can, however, be justification for showing whether or not someone has the mental capacity to be able to stand trial and appear in court for the crime.

Suffering from amnesia may affect the defendant's ability to go to court when:

  • The accused cannot discuss the details of the case
  • The government does not have a strong defense
  • The amnesia has permanent effects
  • The government's files are unable to fill in the blanks
  • The crime reconstruction does not rely on the accused's testimony

If it can be shown that a fair trial was given in spite of the defendant's claims of amnesia, then the ruling of the trial will be upheld in spite of this ailment. However, claiming amnesia is not completely fruitless. Many judges and juries will consider the defendant's amnesia when considering the outcome of the criminal case and potentially reduce the sentencing they face.

Don't waste any time. When you have been accused of a crime, hire a criminal defense attorney from the Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege right away.

Categories: Criminal Defense
405 N. Wabash Ave., Suite P2C, Chicago, IL 60611
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Law Offices of Michael P. Schmiege - Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Located at 53 West Jackson Blvd., #1515 Chicago, IL 60604. View Map
Phone: (312) 626-2400