If I was charged with theft willI have to go to jail if I have a disability?

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If I was charged with theft willI have to go to jail if I have a disability?

I have Cerebral Palsy and I am being charged with theft for taking a clothing item from a store. Could I really go to jail?

Asked on April 10, 2011 under Criminal Law, Minnesota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, being disabled does not make you immune from incarceration.  There are many disabled people serving time.  However, your disability is not the real issue here.  It is rather, will you be imprisoned for such a petty offense? And the answer to that question is most probably - no.  However, it will depend on the dollar amount involved, whether or not this is your first offense, and other circumstances of the case (e.g. did you use or threaten force against any one, was a weapon involved, etc). 

From the tone of your question, I will assume that there were no aggravating circumstances and that you are a first-time offender.  Accordingly, you can be granted something called "diversion" or MN's equivalent.  Essentially this is an alternative sentencing option that will will place you on probation and, if successfully completed, leave you with a clear criminal record.


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