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Understanding Post-traumatic Stress Disorder as a Defense in Michigan


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that may arise following exposure to or experience of trauma, with symptoms including flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and emotional detachment.

PTSD can negatively influence an individual’s psychological well-being significantly, resulting in significant disruption of daily functioning and impairment in quality of life.

The Insanity Defense: Relevance in Michigan

Michigan law has defined insanity defense under Michigan Compiled Laws Section 768.21a as following McNaughton rule – meaning if during an offense someone was incapable of understanding its nature and consequences or distinguish between right and wrong at that moment in time, they may be found not guilty because of insanity and found not guilty due to this defense.

Michigan Defense of Posttraumatic Stress Disorders

While Michigan law may not directly apply to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it’s essential to recognize its intersections with self-defense legal concepts such as “use of deadly force in self-defense if an individual reasonably believes such force may prevent imminent death or severe bodily harm.”

Battered Person Syndrome and Self-Defense 

Individuals experiencing prolonged abuse may exhibit symptoms associated with Battered Person Syndrome – recognized in certain jurisdictions – taking into account its cumulative psychological effects on an individual’s state. Such continuous trauma may inhibit accurate threat recognition and perception, causing them to believe killing their abuser was necessary to safeguard themselves against future attacks.

Legal Precedents and Case Examples

Although no such cases have been presented in Michigan involving using posttraumatic stress disorder as an excuse for killing an abuser have yet been found, similar arguments have been presented elsewhere in other jurisdictions, with courts permitting evidence regarding both their diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder as well as its effects in cases involving self-defense.

Assumption of Proof

Individuals looking to use posttraumatic stress disorder in Michigan bear the onus of demonstrating that their mental state and circumstances surrounding abuse meet legal criteria for self-defense or the insanity defense.

Michigan law recognizes self-defense and insanity defenses separately, yet using post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms associated with Battered Person Syndrome to justify killing is still subject to legal consideration in such cases. Therefore, legal professionals familiar with Michigan laws must consult on such strategies before using such as defense as part of any court strategy in such matters.

Get Yourself a Good Lawyer

Here at Haque Legal, we always tell potential clients that the best thing they can do in case of a case filed against them is to get themselves a good lawyer at the beginning of the proceedings. Even when filling up forms or thinking you already have a dispute, you can always get a good lawyer to start the process.

The first great thing that you can do is to make sure that you have a good guide when it comes to dealing with legalities. After all, you are fighting for your freedom and your life.

Contact Your Lawyer

You must contact your law firm if you have been involved in a criminal complaint in Michigan. A lawyer can help you get started with adequately protecting your rights. A lawyer at Haque Legal will ensure that your needs are met from the beginning to the end of the proceedings. You are always in good hands with Haque Legal and what it offers.


The article you read is based on general applications of the law. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as any legal consultation with the firm. No client-attorney relationship is created when you read the articles we have provided.

Let us help you out.

If you are having trouble with the law about a possible charge of a sex crime or you want a lawyer to help you with the representation, call us immediately. If you have any problem with the law or seek justice and truth, our numbers are standing by to take your call.

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