First and foremost, it’s important to understand the purpose of Rule 11. The goal of this law is to help the courts determine whether an individual is mentally competent enough to understand the charges they face and the implications of said charges. It’s the feeling of the court and the general public that defendants deserve to have some awareness of what they’re facing. Therefore, Rule 11 was created in order to protect these individuals and ensure they aren’t tried and endure a punishment for which they have no understanding. The whole purpose of the court system is to provide each individual with a fair process. If they lack a basic understanding of what’s going on, this defeats the purpose. However, in order to ensure this isn’t used in every case in an attempt to get out of the charges, reasonable grounds must be present. These reasonable grounds require sufficient evidence that indicates the individual may have mental deficiencies that prevent him or her from grasping the charges and their consequences.
If an individual is found to be mentally incompetent with a lack of understanding for the charges they face, they can’t be charged or go through a trial for a public offense, although there are some exceptions to this. When the testing conducted under Rule 11 indicates the individual suffers from a mental illness, disability or defect that prevents them from understanding their charges, other avenues must be taken in order to go through with the charges. This often involves being placed in a mental health facility for treatment instead. Rule 11 in Arizona falls in line with the rules that have been adapted by the federal Supreme Court.