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PTSD/DID as a defense against shoplifting in Florida.

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

I am 47 yr. old female that has been in therapy since I was convicted of one count of Identity theft. I received 6 months house arrest and 3 years probation. I was diagnosed with PTSD due to many factors in my life. Now, with one month to go on my probation, I got arrested for shoplifting /grand theft. My first conviction was a federal sentence, enabling me to eventually stabilize my life, get a job again, go through a divorce, etc. My federal probation officer hasn't found out and when I got arrested, no priors were found. I don't even remember what I was doing while shoplifting and even stopped just outside the store doors to talk to a couple of employees I knew by sight. Then, I was grabbed. I posted bail and now need to know if my diagnosis will help me stay out of prison.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. It is possible but noone here can answer that question without more information. Speak to your criminal defense lawyer and make sure he/she is aware of your diagnosis.
    Good luck,


  2. It largely depends on the defense theory the PTSD diagnosis is intended to support. Generally, this would fall under the "not guilty by reasons of insanity" defense, meaning it would not necessarily preclude a trial but would be raised as an affirmative defense during trial. PTSD may be admissible as "state of mind" evidence in a criminal trial and there is support for introducing evidence of PTSD as a defense in a criminal case. There are various legal hurdles to overcome in order to do so that require the assistance of an attorney.

    However, it sounds like you have two pending issues, one related to a likely violation of probation, the other related to the criminal case. Both will be handled individually, as they apparently deal with two different jurisdictions. You will need to speak with your attorneys on both cases, raise the issue early, and thoroughly discuss the implications of such a defense with them. There are additional case by case issues that cannot possibly be addressed here and require specialized knowledge or consultations with experts in the field.

    The information presented is for information purposes only. An attorney client relationship is not formed.


  3. Mr fisher is correct, this is not a simple question. You need to have your lawyer(s) contact your doctor and see if this will be a viable defense


  4. Yo need a forensic evaluation. That evaluation will determine whether or not you were either insane at the time of the crime or that you are not now competent to proceed. Broward should have mental health court. Tell the Judge you want a public defender appointed, and tell the public defender your issues.

    Educational purposes answer. | FACDL.org | NACDL.org | Defendme.net | twitter.com/JReganLLM | Non-privileged answer.


  5. PTSD is more of a mitigation factor than a substantive defense. If you haven't already done so, contact a criminal attorney regarding mitigation. Florida law permits sentencing departure for mental health reasons when the accused is willing to receive treatment. First and foremost, you would want to undergo a thorough evaluation by a respected mental health expert in the county in which your case is being prosecuted.

    All comments made by the attorney are mere statements of opinion and are not intended to be interpreted as legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship formed as a result of this comment.

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