Theft charges can range from a simple shoplifting case to theft of property worth thousands of dollars.
Simply stated, whoever moves any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, intending to dishonestly take it, commits a theft. Theft can be of many types such as shoplifting, stealing a purse, theft of motor vehicle, etc. But it does not include theft of intellectual property such as copyright or trademark – there are special laws for these crimes. A charge of theft is often accompanied by a charge of possession of property obtained by crime. In Canada, the crime of theft is divided into two categories: Theft under $5000, and theft over $5000. As the names suggest, the former is a less severe offence and does not always result in jail time, although the law empowers the court to punish an offender for up to 2 years of imprisonment. Theft under $5000 is a hybrid offence, which means that the prosecutor can either choose to try it summarily or by indictment. In case of indictment, the accused will be able to demand a trial by a judge alone or a judge and jury. A Criminal Defense Lawyer can advise the accused about the best option depending on the specific facts of their case.
Theft over $5000 is a much serious offence with much higher sentences. The judge in such cases can send the accused to jail for a period, which may extend to 10 years. An accused should never make a statement before police or admit his guilt and should immediately consult with a lawyer. If the theft is very minor such as shoplifting, the accused can avoid trial and punishment altogether by choosing a diversion program. In a diversion program, the accused may be asked to complete community service, watch an informational video or lecture, or make a donation to charity. Your Criminal Defense Lawyer will guide you about your options.
If you are charged with theft, no matter how small or big the theft may be, do not hesitate to give us a call at 1-(647) 978-8444 or click here to schedule a free one-hour consultation.