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Amanda Bynes is mentally competent to stand trial in her DUI case, according to a Los Angeles judge.
The judge determined, based on medical records from Bynes' doctors, that the actress -- who was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder -- is mentally competent to stand trial.
But what exactly is mental competency?
Mental competency refers to the ability of the accused to understand the nature of the legal proceedings against her.
A determination of mental competency is different from a determination of insanity. The latter addresses the guilt or innocence of a party, whereas mental competency is used to determine the accused's competency to stand trial.
As we saw with Jared Loughner, a person who is deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial is usually hospitalized for treatment until the person is considered competent to stand trial.
That means if Bynes had been found mentally incompetent, her DUI trial would have been delayed.
To declare someone mentally incompetent, you must take a number of steps, including the following:
Bynes' attorney, Richard Hutton, submitted mental incompetency documents after Bynes' mother was granted conservatorship of the actress, reports Radar Online.
Doctors at UCLA Medical Center performed a psychological evaluation and determined the former Nickelodeon star is now competent to face her DUI charges. The court made its decision accordingly.
The ruling will have no impact on her conservatorship. Sadly, though Bynes is competent to stand trial, she is currently a far cry from being stable enough to care for herself, according to TMZ.
The starlet is expected to leave a treatment facility in a few weeks, and will be moving in with her parents, reports Radar. With competency determined, the DUI trial will resume shortly.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.