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

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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