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An involuntary act such as sleepwalking that is performed in a state of unconsciousness. The subject does not act voluntarily and is not fully aware of his or her actions while in a state of automatism. Automatism has been used as a defense to show that a defendant lacked the requisite mental state for the commission of a crime. A defense based on automatism asserts that there was no act in the legal sense because at the time of the alleged crime, the defendant had no psychic awareness or volition. Some American jurisdictions have recognized automatism as a complete, Affirmative Defense to most criminal charges. An Insanity Defense, by comparison, asserts that the accused possessed psychic awareness or volition, but at the time of the offense, the accused possessed a mental disorder or defect that caused them to commit the offense or prevented them from understanding the wrongness of the offense.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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Details of the defendants' case came to light on Friday, when their lawyer Alison Gurden told recorder Paul Grumbar that "a defence of automatism could be raised.
Our patient had seizure semiology of falling, tonic spasm of limbs, oral automatism, vocalization, and hypermotor activities.
Doctrinal scholars have focused on mental state/impairment "defences" such as insanity, automatism, diminished responsibility, infanticide, and sometimes intoxication, without taking a step back to analyze the conceptual underpinnings of this category of "defences" as a whole.
According to Fried, a very "different stylistic regime is in force" (6) in Salammbo, inasmuch as every aspect of the text that Flaubert could control is "exclusively the product of conscious intention, of the faculty of will," resulting in a novel "devoid of the effects of habit and automatism that are continually at work in Madame Bovary" (117).
Mr McSporran said Ross was too old to be tested for automatism. But the Crown had to accept, "on the balance of probability and in the absence of another explanation", that she had the condition.
However automatism would be difficult to prove where the medical condition is pre-existing.
automatism has been construed very narrowly by the courts.Whilst it is not impossible to establish, you should take advice from amotoring solicitor who will be able to apply the factsofthe decided cases to your particular circumstances.
Hantai's "Etudes," departing from that conception, refigure automatism not as a descent into psychic depths but as an opening toward an outside.
His landmark treatise on automatisms, which includes references to psychology and parapsychology authors (e.g., Theodore Flournoy, William James, and F.
This neutrality is related to what he calls the "automatism of the mechanically produced image" (182).
If an addiction is an automatism, then our job as treatment professionals is twofold: first, to educate alcoholics and addicts about the nature of their condition and what they have to do; second, to hold them responsible for maintaining abstinence.

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