People with FASD tend to act with varying degrees of impulsivity and forethought, and with limited capacity to appreciate a sequence of events. Therefore, the extent to which the element of mens rea exists should be considered in the context of the person's FASD-related dysfunction and disabilities. Proving actus rea may also require special care. Persons with FASD are often eager to please. That eagerness may manifest itself in confessions for crimes that the person with FASD never committed. Defence counsel, crowns and judges who have comprehensive knowledge of FASD are better equipped to consider the possibility of false confessions and other missteps that could lead to a wrongful conviction.
A person with FASD may also face unique challenges when called upon to give evidence in a courtroom. Cognitive and memory problems can challenge the ability of a person with FASD to give a clear and cogent version of events. Also, people with FASD may not understand the nuances of courtroom etiquette, and therefore their behaviour may not be appropriate. This section offers things to do to get necessary and relevant information from the person with FASD, and briefly summarizes the applicability of fitness to stand trial and mental disorder defence.