How does a mental breakdown impact the ultimate sentence for theft charges?

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How does a mental breakdown impact the ultimate sentence for theft charges?

If a person is charged with auto theft based on a report of a vehicle owner who is on site when the police arrive but the accused has no recollection of what has transpired, is there a potential for the charge to be reduced and the penalty as well?

Asked on January 12, 2016 under Criminal Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If the mental breakdown was due to something the accused did, such as excessive alcohol or drug use, there will be no benefit to him: the law does not let people benefit from their own wrongful or reckless behaviors, or from conditions which they cause.
If it's due to some mental illness or trauma, then it may result in a reduction of charges or punishment (though possibly substituting observation in a mental institution and/or mandatory counseling for jail) because it would tend to reduce or negate the criminal "intent" which is a necessary part of all crimes.


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