Law Dictionary

not guilty by reason of insanity

  1. 1 :  a plea by a criminal defendant who intends to raise an insanity defense —used in jurisdictions that require such a plea in order for an insanity defense to be presented

  2. 2 :  a verdict rendered by a jury in a criminal case that finds that the defendant was insane at the time of committing the crime as determined by application of the test for insanity used in the jurisdiction — compare guilty but mentally ill

Additional Notes on not guilty by reason of insanity

A verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity usually results in the commitment of the defendant to a mental institution. Such a verdict, however, may allow the defendant to be released, sometimes into the custody or care of another (as a family member).


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