Law Dictionary

diminished capacity

noun di·min·ished capacity \də-ˈmi-nisht-\

Legal Definition of diminished capacity

  1. 1 :  an abnormal mental condition that renders a person unable to form the specific intent necessary for the commission of a crime (as first-degree murder) but that does not amount to insanity —called also diminished responsibility, partial insanity — compare insanity, irresistible impulse test, m'naghten test, substantial capacity test

  2. 2a :  a defense based on a claim of diminished capacity b :  the doctrine that diminished capacity may negate an element of a crime

Additional Notes on diminished capacity

If diminished capacity is shown, negating an element of the crime with which a defendant is charged, the defendant can only be convicted of a lesser offense that does not include the element.


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