Amanda Bynes May Be Mentally Unfit for Trial -- What That Means for the Star

The star's DUI case from 2012 is being transferred to mental health court

We still don't know the exact nature of Amanda Bynes' mental illness, but it's severe enough that she may not be able to stand trial. On Tuesday, the actress' lawyer argued that Bynes is mentally unfit to face her DUI charge in court. The judge agreed. Her case is now being transferred to mental health court, where a different Los Angeles judge will determine if she's mentally capable of going to court.

So does this mean that Bynes is pleading insanity? No, it doesn't. Competency, as explained here, is about the defendant's mental state at the time of the trial, not her mental state at the time of the crime. Her legal team is arguing that, in her current mental state, she literally would not understand her own trial.

But that doesn't mean she's off the hook, either. Bynes will stand trial when she has received adequate treatment. Right now, she's pleading not guilty to the drunk driving charge (which goes back to April 2012, when she allegedly crashed her BMW into a police car).

Thankfully, Bynes is getting the help she needs. The former teen star has been under court-ordered psychiatric care since her July arrest for starting a fire in a stranger's driveway. She's also under the temporary conservatorship of her parents, who are helping her get her life back in order.

Bynes is widely believed to be suffering from schizophrenia, and the road to recovery will not be an easy one. But once she's back on her feet, she'll be the most popular girl in town: Bethenny Frankel is vying to get Bynes on her talk show, and Saturday Night Live star Jay Pharoah says the actress would be a member of his "dream cast" on SNL.

Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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