Retail Fraud Kleptomania Defense: How Did This Happen and Why Did I Shoplift?

Michigan Retail Fraud Lawyers

Michigan Shoplifting Lawyer

Many of our clients are employed, productive members of society, with no criminal record and strong support systems.  When a new client visits our office and describes the circumstances of their Retail Fraud case, they often have no explanation as to why they decided to take an item they could easily pay for.  When a client is unable to explain the behavior that put them in the uncharacteristic position of being charged with a crime such as Retail Fraud, i.e. theft, we often have to explore whether there are deeper issues affecting their lives.  One possible explanation is that a client may have a mental health condition affecting their thinking and decision making, which they are completely unaware of.

Many people are aware of the term Kleptomania, but what does it really mean?  The Mayo Clinic defines Kleptomania as the recurrent failure to resist urges to steal items that you generally don’t really need and that usually have little value.  Indeed, many theft, Retail Fraud, or Larceny cases stem from items taken from stores such as Kohl’s, JcPenny, Wal-Mart, supermarkets, etc.  Many times the individual does not plan or conspire to commit Retail Fraud; they simply cannot control their urge to steal.

Kleptomania is a type of impulse control disorder — a disorder that’s characterized by problems with emotional or behavioral self-control. If you have an impulse control disorder, you have difficulty resisting the temptation or impulse to perform an act that’s excessive or harmful to you or someone else.  Bear in mind that kleptomania is a mental health condition, not a character flaw, which can cause significant emotional pain to you and your loved ones if not properly treated.  Kleptomania can also cause significant anxiety in those who come in contact with the police, courts, and even jail.  Having multiple Retail Fraud or theft convictions can and does ruin lives.  Many people risk their careers, family, social status, and more, simply because they do not seek help for a recognized and legitimate disorder.  Many people with kleptomania live lives of secret shame because they’re afraid to seek mental health treatment. Although there’s no cure for kleptomania, treatment with medication or counseling may be able to help end the cycle of compulsive stealing.

When a client is faced with Retail Fraud or other legal trouble as a result of a mental health disorder, our office works with the client to ensure they seek and receive the help they need. Not only is treatment essential for the client’s long term well-being, it is important to answer and explain uncharacteristic behavior.  When faced with theft charges, it is vital that a client seek treatment that will demonstrate to the prosecution and judge that the behavior is being addressed, and the condition is being treated.  Our office does not simply process cases.  We meet with and counsel our clients in a manner that will not only resolve their case, but remedy any long term issues that may affect their lives.

July 2nd, 2015|