Legal Definition of diminished capacity
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
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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