Durham test

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The Durham test refers to a criminal law test used in some jurisdictions to evaluate whether a defendant is entitled to an insanity defense. The Durham test takes its name from the case Durham v. United States. 

Under the Durham test, a defendant is entitled to an insanity defense if their illegal conduct is the product of a mental disease or defect. In other words, the Durham test asks if a mental disease or defect was the but-for cause of the criminal conduct. 

Unlike the M'Naghten test, the other major insanity test, the Durham test does not consider whether the defendant knew that their actions were wrong. 

[Last updated in August of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]