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Can I use my stealing addiction as a form of defense?

Addictions can come in many forms. Having an addiction to stealing or shoplifting is a recognized condition, known as kleptomania. You may not be aware that you have kleptomania, but if you find yourself compulsively stealing, it is possible that you meet the diagnostic criteria.

If you have been accused of shoplifting in Tennessee, you should consider whether you have an addiction to shoplifting. If you are diagnosed with kleptomania, you may be able to use this to your advantage when defending yourself. In addition, you will be able to gain professional help.

What is kleptomania?

A person who is suffering from kleptomania has the urge to steal, not for monetary or personal gain, but because they have an impulse to do so.

Before stealing, they feel tension and a compulsion. They feel like they cannot stop themselves. When they successfully steal an item, they probably feel pleasure and satisfaction, however after these feelings have subsided, they may be followed by guilt and remorse.

This can create an inescapable cycle for the kleptomania sufferer.

Can I defend myself from my shoplifting charge by arguing that I suffer from kleptomania?

There are limited options when it comes to gaining an acquittal due to a kleptomania diagnosis. Although kleptomania is a legitimate mental health condition, in most of the cases, it does not mean the person suffering from the condition has no impulse control. In other words, it can still be possible to stop yourself from stealing even if you have kleptomania, and, therefore, you will still be held responsible for your actions.

However, the courts may deem it appropriate for a defendant suffering from kleptomania to be sentenced to a rehab facility. This will help them to get on the right track to recovery and could prevent the defendant from repeating their offense.

If you are facing shoplifting charges in Tennessee, it is important to act quickly so that you can build a strong defense.

State Bar of Georgia
TBA | Tennessee Bar Association
CBA | Chattanooga Bar Association
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