Rule 3.210. Incompetence to Proceed: Procedure for Raising The Issue

(a)     Proceedings Barred during Incompetency. A person accused of an offense or a violation of probation or community control who is mentally incompetent to proceed at any material stage of a criminal proceeding shall not be proceeded against while incompetent.

(1)     A “material stage of a criminal proceeding” shall include the trial of the case, pretrial hearings involving questions of fact on which the defendant might be expected to testify, entry of a plea, violation of probation or violation of community control proceedings, sentencing, hearings on issues regarding a defendant’s failure to comply with court orders or conditions, or other matters where the mental competence of the defendant is necessary for a just resolution of the issues being considered. The terms “competent,” “competence,” “incompetent,” and “incompetence,” as used in rules 3.210–3.219, shall refer to mental competence or incompetence to proceed at a material stage of a criminal proceeding.

(2)     The incompetence of the defendant shall not preclude such judicial action, hearings on motions of the parties, discovery proceedings, or other procedures that do not require the personal participation of the defendant.

(b)     Motion for Examination. If, at any material stage of a criminal proceeding, the court of its own motion, or on motion of counsel for the defendant or for the state, has reasonable ground to believe that the defendant is not mentally competent to proceed, the court shall immediately enter its order setting a time for a hearing to determine the defendant’s mental condition, which shall be held no later than 20 days after the date of the filing of the motion, and may order the defendant to be examined by no more than 3 experts, as needed, prior to the date of the hearing. Attorneys for the state and the defendant may be present at any examination ordered by the court.

(1)     A written motion for the examination made by counsel for the defendant shall contain a certificate of counsel that the motion is made in good faith and on reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant is incompetent to proceed. To the extent that it does not invade the lawyer-client privilege, the motion shall contain a recital of the specific observations of and conversations with the defendant that have formed the basis for the motion.

(2)     A written motion for the examination made by counsel for the state shall contain a certificate of counsel that the motion is made in good faith and on reasonable grounds to believe the defendant is incompetent to proceed and shall include a recital of the specific facts that have formed the basis for the motion, including a recitation of the observations of and statements of the defendant that have caused the state to file the motion.

(3)     If the defendant has been released on bail or other release provision, the court may order the defendant to appear at a designated place for evaluation at a specific time as a condition of such release. If the court determines that the defendant will not submit to the evaluation or that the defendant is not likely to appear for the scheduled evaluation, the court may order the defendant taken into custody until the determination of the defendant’s competency to proceed. A motion made for evaluation under this subdivision shall not otherwise affect the defendant’s right to release.

(4)     The order appointing experts shall:

(A)     identify the purpose or purposes of the evaluation, including the nature of the material proceeding, and specify the area or areas of inquiry that should be addressed by the evaluator;

(B)     specify the legal criteria to be applied; and

(C)     specify the date by which the report should be submitted and to whom the report should be submitted.

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