FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND THEFT CHARGES IN GUELPH.  1-866-DEFENCE.

Theft offences are among the most common before the Court in Guelph and all over Ontario. An individual may be charged with theft for stealing from another person or entity or for shoplifting. Donich Law has experience defending first and second time offenders charged with theft over and theft under $5,000 offences. In many cases, we have been able to resolve our client’s theft offences without a criminal record.

We have experience defending individuals charged with shoplifting from various major retailers including Home Depot, Winners, Sephora, LCBO, Loblaw, Shoppers Drug Mart, The Bay, Holt Renfrew, Yorkdale Mall and the Toronto Eaton Center. We regularly negotiate directly with major retailers in relation to shoplifting offences to resolve them without the involvement of law enforcement.

In 2018, the Firm represented an individual charged with nine fraud offences including money laundering foreign proceeds in R. v. Z.U. [2018]. In that case the accused was alleged to have defrauded elderly individuals and converted the stolen cash into Gold Bullion. The investigation involved law enforcement from both Canada and the United States. After litigating the matter, the Firm was able to have all charges against the accused stayed.

In 2017, the Firm represented an individual charged with four different fraud offences after a Canada Post employee was alleged to have defrauded the Bank of Nova Scotia out of $50,000 in R. v. S.A. [2017]. After litigating the issue for some time, the Firm resolved the case without a criminal record for the accused.

In 2016, the Firm represented an individual charged with theft, attempted theft and fraud after participating in an alleged employee theft ring. The accused was alleged to have stolen roughly $3,000 in Blue Jays merchandise from the Rogers Center. The Firm was able to resolve the matter without a criminal history for the accused.

The criminal courthouse in Guelph can be located at 36 Wyndham St S, Guelph, ON N1H 7J5, major intersection Wyndham St S and Fountain St. The Guelph criminal courthouse has jurisdiction over all criminal matters occurring in the province of Ontario. It as well hears about cases concerning serious criminal offences occurring in Guelph.  The courthouse can be contacted at 519-826-4431. The 36 Wyndham Street South court house is open from Monday to Friday through 8:30 am to 5 pm. Services here are offered in English, French, Quebec Sign Language, and Interpretive Services.

To access information regarding a court appearance, click here. To access contact information and services, click  here. For more information on our successful theft cases, click here.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Theft?
What is the Difference Between Fraud and Theft?
What is the Difference Between Shoplifting and Theft?
What is Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?
How to Beat a Theft Charge in Guelph?
What are the Maximum Penalties Associated with a Theft Conviction in Guelph?

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sentencing Factors
Keeping Your Charges Private
Release from Police Custody
Theft From Your Employer
Resolving Shoplifting Charges
U.S. Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Immigration Consequences
Elements of a Crime
Your rights

What is Theft?

In Guelph, an individual is guilty of theft, as outlined in section 322(1) of the Criminal Code, when they fraudulently and without colour of right, take or convert to their use or anyone else’s use, any item, with the intent to deprive the rightful owner, or someone with a special property interest in the item or thing, or pledge it or deposit it as security, or deal with it in such a way that it cannot be restored to the condition it was in when it was taken or converted, or part with it under a condition of its return which may not be possible.

What is the Difference Between Fraud and Theft?

Fraud and theft are quite similar and contain many of the same elements. With both offences it must be shown that the accused took or converted a thing or item without colour of right or fraudulently. With a fraud offence however, there is an added element. The Crown must prove that the accused took steps to cover up their unlawful actions. As a result of the added element that is present with fraud, fraud is generally seen as a more serious offence than theft.

What is the Difference Between Shoplifting and Theft?

In Canada, there is no real difference between shoplifting and theft. Rather, shoplifting is a specific type of theft. An individual who is caught shoplifting will be charged with either theft under $5,000, or theft over $5,000, depending on the value of the items taken. Shoplifting is among the most common ways individuals are arrested and charged with theft. In most cases, those arrested for shoplifting are charged with theft under $5,000. In some cases, those arrested for shoplifting will be also charged with possession of property obtained by crime if they are arrested with the stolen items in their possession.

What is Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

Possession of property obtained by crime is a criminal offence outlined in section 354(1) of the Criminal Code. The Code states that an individual is guilty of the offence of possession of property obtained by crime when they have in their possession, any property or thing, or any proceeds of any property of thing knowing that part or all of the property or thing was obtained by, or derived from, either directly or indirectly, the commission of a criminal offence that is punishable by indictment in Canada, or if committed outside of Canada, would be punishable by indictment had it occurred inside Canada.

Possession of property obtained by crime is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown will make an election to proceed with the case either summarily or by indictment. This election will determine the maximum penalty that the Court may impose upon conviction. In cases involving more serious allegations, the Crown will proceed by indictment and in less serious cases, summarily. The maximum penalty that may be imposed will also depend on the value of the items.

Where the value of subject matter of the offence exceeds $5,000 or is a testamentary instrument and the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face a maximum term of ten years in prison. Where the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face a maximum term of two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. Where the value of the subject matter of the offence does not exceed $5,000 and the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face a maximum term of two years in prison. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.

How to Beat a Theft Charge in Guelph?

Theft offences are among the most common before the Court in Guelph. The best defence for any criminal offence will depend largely on the facts of the case and the allegations being made. Two common ways to defend theft charges in Guelph are to argue that the accused had colour of right or to argue that the accused had an honest but mistaken belief that they had colour of right.

An individual has colour of right in an item when they honestly believe that the item belongs to them. If an individual has colour of right in an item, that means they legally possess it. If an individual is accused of stealing something that they had a colour of right to, they may beat the theft charge. For example, if an individual is accused of shoplifting but can prove that they in fact paid for the item, they have colour of right over the item and cannot be convicted of theft.

Another defence commonly used to defend theft charges in Guelph is honest but mistaken belief. This defence argues that the accused honestly believed they had colour of right over the item but were mistaken in their belief. To use this defence successfully the accused must prove that they honestly and genuinely believed they had a legal right to take or convert the item.

What are the Maximum Penalties Associated with a Theft Conviction in Guelph?

Theft offences are among the most common before the Court in Guelph. Due to the broad nature of the offence of theft and the varying value of items that may be taken or converted, the sentences for those convicted of theft offences in Guelph and throughout Ontario vary significantly. Theft is a hybrid offence, meaning the Crown may elect to proceed summarily or by indictment. This election will determine, among other things, the maximum penalty that the Court may impose on the accused should they be convicted of the offence.

For those charged with theft under $5,000 where the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face up to two years in prison if convicted. Where the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. For those charged with theft over $5,000 where the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will face up to two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.

When determining the most appropriate sentence for an individual convicted of theft, the Court will look at many different factors including the nature and severity of the allegations against the accused, the value of the items taken or converted and the criminal history of the accused. The Court will also weigh any relevant aggravating or mitigating factors present in the case.

If you have been charged with a theft offence in Guelph, Donich Law can assist you in developing the best strategy to defend your case. We have experience defending a wide variety of individuals and in many cases have been able to resolve our clients matters without a criminal record.

Quick Facts

What is Theft?

As outlined in the Criminal Code, an individual is guilty of committing the offence of theft when they fraudulently, or without colour of right, take or convert an item with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it either permanently or temporarily.

What is the Difference Between Shoplifting and Theft?

Shoplifting is a specific type of theft offence. An individual who shoplifts will be charged with either theft under $5,000 or theft over $5,000, depending on the value of the items taken. In many cases those caught shoplifting are also charged with possession of property obtained by crime.

Will I go to Jail for Theft?

In some cases, yes. Whether or not an individual accused of theft will be sentenced to a period of incarceration upon conviction will depend on a number of factors. The most important factors will be the nature and value of the items taken and the criminal history of the accused. Where an offender stole something of high value or has a history of criminal behaviour, it is more likely that the Court will impose a custodial sentence.

Will my Theft Charge Affect my Ability to Travel?

In some cases, yes. Having a criminal record of any kind can make it difficult to travel outside of Canada. Many countries throughout the world will deny access to those with criminal histories. This is especially true with the Unites States who may refuse entry to anyone who has committed a crime.

What are the Maximum Penalties for Shoplifting?

Those who are accused of shoplifting will generally be charged with theft under $5,000. Theft under $5,000 is a hybrid offence. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. If the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face a maximum of two years in prison.

What if I am a First Time Offender Charged with Theft?

In some cases, involving minor thefts committed by first time offenders, it may be possible to resolve the matter without a criminal record for the accused. In other cases, an offender may be sentenced to a period of probation, a fine or community service. Only in the most serious cases will a first-time offender be sentenced to a period of incarceration for a theft offence.

What if I stole from my Employer?

An individual who steals from their employer will be charged with theft. While there is no separate offence in the Criminal Code for stealing from one's employer, the fact that a theft occurred in an employment context will generally be seen as an aggravating factor.

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