Theft Charges in Toronto: What You Need to Know
If you have been charged with theft, it is important to understand the criminal law process and what you can expect. A criminal lawyer can help guide you through the process and provide representation in court. If you are convicted, you could face a criminal record and collateral consequences associated. If you’ve been accused of theft, it’s important to seek legal counsel.
What is theft?
Theft is the criminal offence of taking something that belongs to someone else without their consent. It can include stealing money, property, or other belongings.
In some cases, the theft charge may be the consequence of a mistake on your part. It’s easy to understand how paying for something might get overlooked in certain circumstances. But, if you are caught stealing, even inadvertently, you could be charged with a criminal offence.
What are the penalties for theft?
The potential penalties for a theft charge vary depending on the value of what was stolen and other factors such as whether violence or threats were used. Fines, probation, jail time, and a criminal record are all possible penalties for a theft charge.
There are a few distinct types of theft charges that can be laid in Toronto. The most common one is theft under $5000. This charge applies when someone steals an item or items that total less than $5000.The maximum sentence for theft under $5000 when tried by summary conviction is six months imprisonment.
Theft over $5000 is a more serious charge that can be laid when someone steals an item or items that total more than $5000. This charge comes with a potential prison sentence of up to ten years.
There are also a number of other theft-related charges that can be laid, such as robbery, possession of stolen property, and fraud.
Will a shoplifting charge result in a conviction?
Shoplifting, or stealing from a commercial store rather than a private individual, is the most prevalent.
If you are convicted of shoplifting, you will have a criminal record. If you have never been arrested before, you may be eligible for a diversion program. Eligibility for the diversion program is not automatic and is determined on a case-by-case basis. A criminal lawyer may be able to negotiate with the crown attorney and persuade them into having you enter into the diversion program.
A diversion scheme includes completing a number of obligations, such as paying restitution to the retailer, attending a session focused on theft awareness, community service, or writing an apology letter. If you complete the diversion program, the criminal charge will be withdrawn, and there will be no criminal record.
If you are not eligible for a diversion program, or if you choose not to participate in the diversion program, then you will likely have to go through with a criminal trial. The criminal lawyer will be able to provide guidance and advice on how best to proceed with your case.
What is a criminal record?
If you are convicted of a criminal offence, you will have what is known as a criminal record. A criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, travel, and even volunteer.
In some situations, a conditional or absolute discharge may be given in place of a conviction. As part of a conditional discharge, you will be subject to certain conditions for a given period of time, such as not committing any more criminal offences. If you follow the conditions, your criminal record will be expunged three years after the conclusion of your discharge. Although a discharge involves an admission of guilt, it is not the same as a criminal conviction.
If you are given an absolute discharge, there are no conditions attached and the criminal record is erased one year after the discharge is granted.
Can I seek to have my fingerprints destroyed following a withdrawal?
If you have been fingerprinted as part of a criminal investigation and the charge is later withdrawn, you can apply to have your fingerprints destroyed. If you’ve been placed under a peace bond, you’ll have to wait until the bond expires before applying. The application would be made to the police department that issued the charges and can be completed online.
How can a criminal lawyer help?
If you have been charged with theft, it’s important to seek legal counsel. A criminal lawyer can provide guidance through the criminal law process and represent you in court. A theft may negotiate outcomes, such as having the charges withdrawn, reduced, redirected, or resolved in a favourable way to avoid a criminal record.
Bail Hearing Process in Ontario
Obtaining bail is an important part of the criminal process. If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offence, your rights not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. After an arrest, the bail hearing provides the accused an opportunity to be released from custody. When you’re in this situation, it’s critical to understand your rights. When your reputation and freedom are on the line you want a lawyer, you can trust.
When Does an Accused Require a Bail Hearing?
In certain circumstances, police may release an individual without taking them into custody. The police may issue an appearance notice or release them on an undertaking to follow certain conditions.
If you have been charged with an offence and taken into custody, then you will require a bail hearing regardless of the charge to ensure you are released prior to trial. The general rule is that an accused must be brought before the court for a bail hearing within 24 hours of the arrest.
Types of Bails Hearings
A bail hearing is arranged once an individual is arrested and taken into custody. It determines whether the accused will be released from custody pending their trial.
There are two types of bail hearings: consent or contested.
- Consent Bail Hearing: When there is an agreement between the Crown and the defence to the terms of release and this is subsequently approved by the justice of the peace or a judge. A criminal lawyer will work with the accused to formulate a release plan and negotiate a consent release with the Crown. The advantage of consent release is that it can be done quickly, sometimes in as little as thirty minutes.
- Contested Bail Hearing: If the Crown does not agree to the bail plan put forward, a contested bail hearing will be necessary. At this stage, the Crown will present its position and a summary of the allegations. Any criminal record along with other related evidence will be tendered by the Crown. The defence will then have an opportunity to question the allegations and call witnesses including the surety. Following the conclusion of the evidence, the crown and defence will make submissions to support their positions. The judge will make a decision on whether to order the release of the accused or require his/her detention after both sides have completed their arguments.
Steps of a Bail Hearing
Step 1: Courthouse Visit
Within 24 hours of being arrested, an accused has the right to a bail hearing if a judge is available, or as soon as possible if one isn’t. You may be taken from the police station or the jail to the courthouse where you will be held in a cell or you may be linked to the court by a video screen. You will have a chance to speak with your lawyer as well.
Step 2: Bail Hearing
In the courtroom, the Crown will read out allegations against you. In some cases, the Crown will call a witness usually the investigating officer. It is the Crown’s job to show why you shouldn’t be allowed out on bail. Your lawyer will often call the potential surety (Surety is explained below) to the stand to convince the court that, if you’re released on bail, you will obey your bail conditions and come to your court dates.
Step 3: Decision
After considering the seriousness of the charges and evidence, the court will then decide to either release you on bail or keep you in jail while you wait for your trial.
If the court grants the bail: If you are released there will usually be conditions to do or not do certain things. It is very important that you follow the conditions exactly. If you do not, you will be charged with breaching a court order and be put back in jail.
If the court does not grant the bail: If you are not released, you may have an option to appeal the decision. Your lawyer or duty counsel can explain available options.
For more serious criminal charges, and in certain circumstances such as where you were already on bail, the bail hearing will be “reverse onus”.
Reverse onus means that the onus to show why the accused should be released is reversed from the crown to the accused. The accused will be held in custody unless the accused or their lawyer can satisfy to the court as to why they should be released.
The Justice may require that a bond or cash deposit as bail be placed by someone acting as a surety for the accused.
Many trials can last months or even years before they reach court, so call a lawyer to be properly represented at the bail hearing to avoid spending additional time in jail.
Reasons for Bail Being Denied
There are three general grounds upon which the Crown will seek to deny an accused bail. In broad terms, some of the reasons for being denied bail include:
- A risk that the accused will fail to attend court again
- A substantial danger or risk to the public
- There is a real potential that the accused will continue to break the law
- There is a real potential that the accused will interfere with witnesses
- An overwhelmingly strong Crown case where there is a potential for serious jail time
- The allegations are of such a nature that the public would be offended if the accused is released
When bail is granted to an accused person there are certain conditions to the recognizance of bail that they must follow. Failing to abide by bail conditions or recognizance of bail is a criminal offence. These conditions are offence-specific and can vary greatly depending on the charges and the risks posed by that specific offender.
What Is a Surety?
The surety will be responsible to ensure the accused follows the terms of their bail and attends court when they are required.
A surety is someone who puts up the bond (a promise to pay a set amount of money on behalf of the accused) at a bail hearing. This individual will be responsible to ensure the accused will be in attendance at court when they are required to and follow the conditions of their release. This person will also be financially responsible to pay the court the entire bond amount if the accused breaches any conditions of their release. A cash deposit may also be required in certain circumstances such as where the accused is not a resident of the province or resides 200 KM from the place in which they are charged.
A bail review occurs after a decision on bail is made by the court. This is normally the next course of action when an accused has been denied bail and wants to appeal the decision. The appeal is made to a higher court for review. This appeal works both ways and can be brought by either the Crown or the Defence to contest a decision made by the court.
We are committed to fighting for your rights at all stages of a criminal proceeding. Contact now at (844) 978-8444 and get a free immediate consultation.
How to Impact Your Criminal Case by Hiring a Domestic Assault Lawyer?
You have been charged with domestic assault, and now you are facing criminal charges. You want to know what your next steps should be? Should you plead guilty? Can you avoid a criminal record? If you want to make the most of your criminal defence case, then hiring a domestic assault lawyer is an important first step.
The criminal justice system can be complicated and overwhelming for those who don’t have legal knowledge. That is why it’s so important to find an experienced domestic assault lawyer that will help guide you through this process and provide the best representation possible. In this blog post, we will explore how hiring a criminal defence attorney can impact your domestic assault charges!
What are domestic assault allegations?
Domestic assault allegations can include a number of different charges, such as criminal harassment, threats, sexual assault, and assault. These types of offences typically involve violence or threatening behaviour between family members, spouses, or dating partners.
The crown attorney treats domestic assault allegations very seriously. The accused will have to go through all of the regular criminal procedures, including a bail hearing and trial proceedings. Often, an individual charged with a domestic assault will be held for a bail hearing. In domestic assault charges, the lawyer will assist in facilitating a surrender ensuring your quickest release. The crown attorney has a mandate which requires them to treat domestic abuse cases with strictness.
What are the possible consequences of a domestic assault conviction?
If you are convicted of domestic assault, you could face a number of different penalties, such as jail time, probation, and fines. You may also have to attend counselling or anger management classes. It is important to note that criminal convictions will be on your record and could impact future job opportunities, family law proceedings, international travel, or volunteering.
Penalties for domestic assault can vary depending on the severity of the charge and the unique circumstances of each criminal case. For instance, a simple domestic assault charge could result in a criminal record and probation or up to six months imprisonment, while aggravated assault charges carry much harsher penalties such as 18 months imprisonment. Due to the serious consequences, it is important that you consult with a lawyer prior to you deciding to plead guilty or agreeing to any resolution including a peace bond. A guilty plea might seem like an attractive option as resolving the case may permit contact with your partner; however, it is important to seek legal advice from a lawyer on your domestic violence charge.
In order to avoid a criminal conviction, it is important to have a criminal lawyer represent you in court. An experienced criminal law lawyer will be able to review the evidence against you and develop a strong defence strategy.
Do I need a domestic assault lawyer?
If you have been charged with domestic assault, it is important to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. By hiring an assault lawyer, you can better prepare yourself for your upcoming court case and make the most of this criminal law process!
A person accused of a simple assault is unlikely to face jail time, especially if they are a first-time offender. If the assault charge does not involve injuries and the spousal assault did not take place in front of a child, then domestic assault lawyers will likely be able to negotiate a criminal court diversion. This will typically involve the completion of counselling followed by a 12-month peace bond. More serious criminal code charges such as assault causing bodily harm or aggravated sexual assault charges will unlikely be applicable for the resolution by way of a peace bond.
If you have been charged with domestic assault, it is very important to find the right criminal defence lawyer for your case! Domestic violence lawyers will offer legal advice throughout this process from pre-charge, through the criminal justice system, to trial date and sentencing. Your criminal lawyer will be your advocate and will work to get the best possible outcome for your case.
Domestic violence lawyers will examine the evidence against you and determine whether there are any weaknesses in your case. The law firm must first identify all of the relevant disclosure including, police reports, witness statements, 911 calls, videos or audio recordings that could have been obtained by the prosecution. They will then work to discredit any evidence that is unfavourable to you and try to build a defence strategy.
If there are no reasonable defences, a domestic assault lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the crown attorney. This could involve pleading guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for lighter penalties including conditional discharge or no jail time. Your criminal lawyer will work to get you the best possible outcome in domestic violence cases including withdrawal of the criminal code charge.
If you are considering hiring a criminal defence lawyer for domestic violence cases, please contact us today! Our law firm would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.
Will a domestic assault lawyer prevent a criminal record?
A criminal defence lawyer will work on resolving your matter in the most efficient and effective way possible. Any domestic assault lawyer cannot guarantee that criminal charges will be dropped, however, they can help you understand your options and make the right decisions to protect yourself in court! For example, they can explain to you the process involved in a domestic assault charge along with the possibility of it resolving by a peace bond.
A criminal defence attorney can also represent you at trial if necessary. If convicted after a criminal trial, an assault lawyer could still work with the prosecutor on reducing sentencing penalties.
What are the benefits of hiring a lawyer to defend domestic assault charges?
Although you do not require domestic assault lawyers to represent you for a domestic assault allegation, it is highly recommended. If you are representing yourself for criminal charges, you will not be able to offer the best possible defence on your behalf and there may even be some things that can negatively impact your case without a criminal lawyer present! Any criminal offence can have serious consequences, including domestic disputes.
There are many benefits that come with working with an assault attorney for your criminal case! A domestic assault lawyer will review and evaluate every piece of evidence against you and help you understand what it means in court. They can also provide key insights into how to bespeak your criminal case to the prosecutor and judge.
Your criminal lawyer could also negotiate with the Crown attorney’s office on a resolution that may help you avoid jail time or get charges dropped entirely! Any criminal defence attorney will do what is in their power to defend you in criminal court, however, nothing can replace an assault lawyer’s knowledge and experience when it comes to criminal assault defence.
Can I change my bail to allow contact with my partner?
Bail conditions are set by the criminal courts, and they aim to prevent an accused from reoffending or interfering with the administration of justice. This means that even if you want to contact the alleged victim after being charged for domestic assault, it may not be possible due to your bail conditions. It is best to speak with a criminal defence lawyer about what you can do next.
A bail variation can be requested to allow you and your partner or spouse contact with one another, but this is not always possible. The criminal courts will only agree to a bail variation if there are exceptional circumstances that merit such an exception. This can be difficult for those who face domestic assault charges as the crown attorney often opposes any type of bail variation between partners or spouses.
Any bail variation which allows contact with their domestic partner will not be possible unless the accused person enrolls in counselling. If an accused has been screened for the early intervention program, then upon entering into the program and counselling, the criminal courts may allow the accused to have contact with their partner or spouse.
Hiring a lawyer will help you understand domestic assault cases and defend your rights. If you or your family members are facing domestic assault charges, feel free to contact our office for a consultation.
Peace Bond & Criminal Code Charges
What is a peace bond?
A peace bond is a court order that is designed to ensure peace. The peace bond usually requires the accused to comply with certain conditions such as avoiding communication with certain people, staying away from specific places, and not possessing any weapons. If the person fails to comply with these conditions, they can be charged with breaching the peace bond along with other charges.
There are two types of peace bonds; an S. 810 and common law. A peace bond pursuant to section 810 of the criminal code can be valid for up to one year and is a sworn information. A common law peace bond involves the presiding judge or justice exercising their common law powers to impose certain conditions on the individual charged with an assault charge. Unlike s. 810, the common law peace bond can be valid for more than a year.
When imposing peace bond conditions, the crown and court will consider the nature of the offence and whether or not it was domestic in nature. The court may also consider other factors such as the accused’s background and input from the complainant. For example, in domestic assault charges, if the complainant provides input that they wish to have contact with the accused, then the court is less likely to impose a condition prohibiting contact.
If you are considering entering into a peace bond, it is important to speak with a criminal lawyer to ensure that you fully understand the consequences and implications of doing so. A peace bond can have a number of collateral consequences which may impact family court proceedings or your employment. In certain circumstances, an experienced criminal lawyer might be able to negotiate a resolution that does not involve the accused entering into a peace bond.
What are the consequences of not following the peace bond conditions?
If a person commits a breach of a peace condition, then they can be charged with a criminal offence. The maximum punishment for breaching either type of peace bond is four years; however, the court will consider the circumstances of the alleged breach in determining an appropriate sentence. Often the first breach of a court order on an individual’s criminal record will not result in jail time; however, there can be severe consequences including a criminal record. A criminal conviction for a breach of any type of court order will also make it difficult for an individual to obtain bail in the future.
It is important to remember that breaching a peace bond can result in serious consequences, so it is best to speak with a criminal lawyer to get advice on your specific situation. If you are facing charges such as aggravated assault charges and would like legal advice, please contact a criminal defence lawyer located by your local criminal court. Many criminal lawyers offer free consultation and would be happy to discuss your options with you.
Will my charge resolve by way of a peace bond?
Typically, peace bonds are used in cases where there is not enough evidence to substantiate criminal charges but the Crown Prosecutor still believes that the accused may be a threat to society or an individual. They are typically reserved for the less serious offences which are proceeded by way of summary conviction rather than an indictable offence such as criminal assault charges, uttering threat or theft charges.
The crown considers a number of factors in determining whether or not the matter should resolve by way of a peace bond. These factors include the type of offence, personal circumstances of the accused, triable issues, the complainant’s input, and the reasonable prospect of conviction.
Can an accused avoid a criminal record in Domestic assault charges and resolve by way of peace bond?
Often, if an individual is charged with a simple assault and has no prior convictions, the matter is more likely to resolve by way of a peace bond. This is also possible if the offence involves domestic violence as long as it was not in the presence of a child and the intended victim sustained no injuries.
In domestic assault cases, the crown attorney will require the accused person to complete upfront counselling prior to entering into a peace bond. This is often referred to as The Partner Assault Response (PAR) Program. In certain jurisdictions, such as Brampton, there is a significant backlog in an accused entering into the PAR Program. As an alternative, assault lawyers can negotiate the accused completing a PAR equivalent counselling program run by a private firm which will have more flexibility in terms of schedule along with a faster completion time frame.
More serious charges such as aggravated assault, or assault causing bodily harm, are less likely to be resolved by way of a peace bond. The seriousness of these assault charges including the injuries inflicted makes a resolution by a peace bond contrary to the public interest.
It is important to have a lawyer represent you in these serious charges as they can often result in a jail sentence. For example, the maximum jail sentence for an accused found guilty of an aggravated assault is fourteen years. If you are facing serious charges such as assault with a weapon, it is important to contact a criminal assault lawyer for a consultation. The assault lawyer will be able to review your case and the particular circumstances surrounding the case and provide you with legal advice.
Does signing a peace bond constitute an admission of guilt?
Opting to enter into a peace bond does not constitute an admission of guilt or criminal responsibility. A peace bond may impact family law proceedings, however, it will not affect an individual’s criminal record. It is important to consult a family lawyer for any potential consequences.
Signing a peace bond is different than resolving assault charges through another method such as diversion. Signing a peace bond means that you agree to adhere to certain conditions. If you breach these conditions, charges can still be pursued against you by the crown.
If you are considering entering into a peace bond, it is important to speak with a criminal lawyer close to your local courthouse to ensure that you fully understand the consequences and implications of doing so.