What Happens When Brain Injury Erases Memory of a Crime: A Legal Guide

Imagine for a moment that you've committed a crime, but due to a freak accident, you've hit your head and have no memory of the event. What happens next? As a criminal defense attorney, this is a question I was once asked by a client.

The truth is, if your brain damage is so severe that you cannot understand the proceedings against you or assist in your own defense, you will be deemed "unfit to proceed" and cannot be prosecuted. However, this doesn't necessarily mean you will be released from custody. In most cases, individuals who are found unfit to proceed are turned over to a mental health facility to determine if their fitness can be restored.

If their fitness is restored, the prosecution can continue with the case. But if not, they must be released within one year, provided that the lack of fitness is the only reason for holding them. It's important to note that your mental state after committing the offense, whether it's due to a head injury or anything else, is irrelevant. What matters is whether you had the necessary mental state for the crime at the time you committed it.

In summary, if you find yourself in a situation where you have no memory of committing a crime due to a head injury, it's crucial to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney. They will be able to navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. And remember, whether or not you will be released from custody depends on whether or not you are deemed fit to proceed with the case.