Toward the end of August, two brothers barricaded themselves inside Harvest Orange County, the famed home church of Pastor Greg Laurie. The East Bay Times reports that the men entered the church at night and began to vandalize the grounds. They smashed a glass door and caused minor damage to other rooms. The men also brought a replica rifle, but their reasoning is unclear.
One peculiar aspect in this case is that both men were in varying stages of undress during the vandalism: one brother was partially clothed, the other was not wearing anything at all. Both were arrested and placed in an Orange County jail.
Could there be a chance that drugs or mental illness played a role in this strange crime? And if they did, will that affect the outcome?
How Intoxication Plays a Role in Criminal Defense
The criminal defense of intoxication is used when drugs or alcohol seriously hindered a defendant’s ability to comprehend what he/she was doing. There are two types of intoxication when it comes to the courts.
- Involuntary intoxication means the defendant did not intend to consume a mind-altering substance. This might involve someone being tricked or forced to use a substance. This may also apply to other situations, such as an unintended medication side effect. The defense would be that the defendant did not have intent to commit the crime and could not comprehend what he was doing due to the involuntary intoxication.
- Voluntary intoxication occurs when it was the defendant’s choice to consume the substance. Intent could be argued, but the defense would not be as strong.
How Insanity Plays a Role
If a person is suffering from a mental disability, he may not be able to fully comprehend his actions. However, there may still be legal culpability, depending on the crime and severity of the disorder. If someone is determined to be insane by the court, however, he will be given a verdict of “not guilty” and remanded to psychiatric care for an indefinite period of time.
To plead insanity, a lawyer must prove that the defendant is suffering from a mental illness and that caused him to commit the crime, or he could not distinguish right from wrong. Whether or not this is the best choice for the defendant….
It’s a complex issue; and one that should be handled with sensitivity and experience. A good Orange County lawyer will know what’s best for his or her client.
In This Case…
Given the strange nature of the two men’s behavior, mental illness or substances may have been at play. If this is true, their sentences may be reduced, but only if their lawyer gathers the right information and presents a skillful defense. If you need an experienced vandalism lawyer, contact the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti toll-free at (888) 478-8999.