Criminal Defense Relying More on Neurological Evidence

Posted on : March 9, 2018

When you’re first accused of a crime, you should sit down with your lawyer and walk through all aspects of the case, including the evidence the other side has against you. Your lawyer will want to know everything about how you were charged and the claims on the other side. This helps your attorney put together a strategy to help you avoid conviction or time behind bars. More lawyers are using neurological arguments to help their clients avoid the damage associated with conviction. This might not apply in every case, but it could be critical for your freedom and it’s well worth considering if you’ve just been accused.

Scientists and ethics specialists are considering a place for neuroscience in the court room as it has become an increasingly common claim that someone’s neurological background or issues have caused them to commit a crime. Criminal defense strategies are now relying on neurological evidence in the form of brain scans, behavioral tests and psychological evaluation to possibly mitigate punishment. Defendants may cite brain disorders or previous head traumas as underlying reasons for tehri behavior, hoping that this will be factored into a jury or judge’s decisions.

These strategies are certainly not new as they have been used in death penalty cases for decades, however, the practice has become increasingly common for criminal cases like robberies and drug offenses as well. In 2012, more than 250 judicial opinions included the defendants arguing that in some way their brain made them commit the crime. That number was double the 2007 report and it is expected that the number has risen to more than 400 every single year.

Defendants even may use the omission of neuroscience as grounds for questioning the competency of the defenses they did receive if they file for an appeal. This emerging field is known as neuro forensics as created by a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. If you have been accused of a crime exploring your defense options as soon as possible is important for protecting your freedom.


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