Many people charged with Theft under $5000 or shoplifting in Canada are first offenders: they have no prior criminal record. When people come to us in this situation, we try to keep it that way. Our firm focuses our theft defence practice on first offenders, and we are proud of our success rate in helping people avoid criminal records for low-level thefts. We have experience defending people of all walks of life against charges of theft from any number of businesses.
Theft is defined in Canadian Criminal law as “fraudulently and without colour of right [taking], or fraudulently and without colour of right [converting] to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate”, while also intending to make use of it in an illegal way (generally, taking it away from its rightful owner or using it in a way they do not approve of). The definition above is rather legalistic; you likely already have an intuitive understanding of what theft is.
The punishment and procedure for theft vary depending on the value of the property that is alleged to have been the subject of the theft. Where the property in question is valued at less than $5,000, the Crown can choose to either proceed “summarily” (with a maximum penalty of $5,000 and six months in jail) or “by indictment”, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. Shoplifting is a subset of theft more broadly, involving taking goods that one has not paid for from retail stores.
In the case of theft under $5,000, especially for a first offender, it is far, far more likely that the Crown will elect to proceed summarily, seeking a conviction under the less punitive of the two provisions. Seeking jail time for a first charge is relatively unusual. However, the direct punishment meted out may be less serious than the indirect effects of a first conviction for Theft Under $5,000 or shoplifting.
These indirect effects make it difficult to get a job, make any subsequent convictions more serious, make it difficult to join professional societies (such as the Law Society of Upper Canada, and extending to work in medicine, accounting, or engineering), and mean you will have difficulty travelling abroad. If you are a new Canadian, the effects on your immigration status may be severe.
We are extremely proud of the success we have found in defending first-offender charged with shoplifting. In the past, in 99% of the cases we have handled in which charges are brought against a first offender for Theft Under $5,000, we have been able to help the accused avoid a criminal record. We hope that we can continue this track record in the future, but must note that in any given case brought to us, prior results are not a guarantee of similar results into the future.
In Brampton, the Criminal Courthouse is A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse. This courthouse can be found at 7755 Hurontario Street, Brampton ON, L6W 4T1. To reach the courthouse, it can be contacted at (905) 456-4700. Alternatively, court office hours occur from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Cases for all ages are heard at A. Grenville and William Davis Courthouse: adults, young persons aged 16-17, and young persons aged 12-15. For more information on successful theft cases from the Firm, click here.
WHO do we help?
Brampton and Mississauga had 827 reported robberies in 2016. This was an increase from 678 reported robberies in the same area in 2015. In 2016, Brampton and Mississauga had 2,007 reported vehicle thefts, increasing from 1,861 in 2015. Finally, there were 3,757 thefts from vehicles in 2016, an increase from 3,554 in 2015.
Defending allegations of relatively minor crimes is particularly important for new Canadians, as convictions can have serious consequences for one’s immigration status. Whether you or someone you know has come here as student, a professional, a refugee, or for any other reason, we have likely defended someone life you. We know how serious the consequences of a conviction can be for new Canadians, and we are happy to help with or provide access to assistance with Canadian Citizenship and Permanent Residency Applications, US travel, and the Destruction of Police Records.
A conviction for theft, even if under $5,000, almost always makes it more difficult for you to stay in Canada or to move here permanently. If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent residence, a criminal conviction will conversely make it difficult for you to visit or move to other countries, or even visit our American neighbors to the South. We are experienced in dealing with clients whose criminal charges risk their continued residence in Canada, and where our experience ends, we are well connected with a series of trusted immigration professionals.
Our services include advice on how to minimize the effects of a criminal conviction on one’s employment and immigration prospects. In many cases, this involves means of concealing charges or allegations of Theft Under $5,000. Similar convictions also make it very difficult for Canadians to visit the United States, and our team has the experience to maximize your chances of travelling to the United States despite having been charged with “Theft Under”.
Our team of Brampton Criminal Lawyers have successfully defended people from all across Ontario against theft and shoplifting charges. This extends to people in all walks of life: we have successfully defended workers in the financial sectors, doctors, accountants, nurses, real estate agents, Pharmacists, teachers, and licensed professionals of the Law Society of Upper Canada against charges of theft. No matter what you do, it is possible that you may find yourself charged with theft, and it is important for everyone charged to exercise their right to a full answer and defence.
Our familiarity with the law of theft and with Canadian criminal procedure helps protect our clients, no matter how much they are alleged to have stolen. We have defended clients of all walks of life, and alleged with all manners of theft.
If you or a loved one have been charged with theft, whether under or over $5,000, in Brampton, please consider reaching out to our firm at 416-DEFENCE, or at [email protected], for a free consultation with one of our experienced Criminal Lawyers practicing in your area.