ASERT does not offer crisis services through our Resource Center. If you or someone you love is experiencing mental health distress or thoughts of suicide please call or text 988 for support.
A person who is not competent to stand trial should not be convicted of a crime. In order to ensure that the criminal proceeding is fair, a court may order a mental health assessment or a competency evaluation be conducted. The request for an evaluation is arranged through the defense counsel and competency can be raised during any stage of legal proceedings by a judge, attorney, prison staff, etc. The trial process is put on hold while the competency evaluation is conducted.
To measure the defendant’s abilities to comprehend and participate in the judicial process, which include but are not limited to the defendant’s ability to:
Though only the prosecutor, defense counsel, or court can bring forward a request to complete a Competency Evaluation/Assessment, a supporter can offer assistance to the defense counsel in the petition to evaluate competency by helping provide:
For more information about justice system procedures, visit the ASERT Navigating the Justice System page.