Donich Law has extensive experience defending individuals charged with theft across Ontario. Our Firm has represented clients accused of stealing items valued from 10 cents to upwards of $50,000.00. We often successfully resolve these cases without clients getting a criminal record, including rare outcomes where the theft is from work.

In the 2016 case of R. v. G.E. [2017], Donich Law secured the withdrawal of nine counts of theft and fraud for a client alleged to have stolen merchandise from The Bay.

In the 2016 case of R. v. J.A. [2017], Donich Law represented an individual accused of theft, attempted theft, and fraud for stealing $3,000.00 in Blue Jays merchandise from the Rogers Center. Donich Law secured the withdrawal of all charges.

In the 2017 case of R. v. S.A [2017], Donich Law represented a Canada Post employee accused of defrauding the Bank of Nova Scotia out of over $50,000.00. The Firm successfully negotiated the withdrawal of all charges.

In the 2017 case of R. v. D.D. [2017], Donich Law represented a CIBC employee alleged to have stolen $18,500.00 in cash and resolved the case without the client receiving a criminal record.

In the 2016 case of R. v. C.T. [2016], Donich Law represented an employee caught shoplifting $1,500.00 worth of menswear from The Bay and resolved the matter without the client receiving a criminal record.

In the 2016 case of R. v. S.Y. [2016], Donich law represented a Toronto doctor caught with over $3,000.00 in merchandise from The Bay, securing the withdrawal of the theft under $5,000.00 charge.

In the 2015 case of R. v. K.L. [2015], Donich Law represented an individual charged with eight theft and fraud charges stemming from shoplifting, securing a withdrawal of all charges.

In the 2015 case of R. v. S.C. [2015], Donich Law successfully defended a client accused of participating in an internal theft ring at HomeSense without the client receiving a criminal record.

In the 2013 case of R. v. A.N. [2013], the Firm defended a client charged with defrauding RBC of $56,000.00 and prevented this client from receiving a criminal record.

In the 2015 case of R. v. N.B. [2013], Donich Law represented several employees accused of participating an in internal theft ring at Target Canada and ensured that none of these employees received a criminal record.

If you have been charged with theft, regardless of the value alleged to have been stolen, Donich Law can ensure your rights are respected and that you present the best defence available.

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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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be Charged with Theft if My Friends Were the ones Stealing?
How do I Defend my Theft Charge?
What are the Penalties for Theft?

Additional Resources

Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

Will I be Charged with Theft if My Friends Were the ones Stealing?

Oftentimes, when security guards or police officers see an individual shoplifting, they will arrest any other individuals accompanying them, even if they did not see these other individuals shoplifting as well. However, if you are with someone who is shoplifting but have not shoplifted anything yourself, have not helped plan the theft, and have not encouraged or helped them commit the theft, then the theft charges against you will likely be dropped. Where stolen items or money are found on you, or where there is evidence that you encouraged, helped plan, or helped execute the theft, it will be harder to have your charges dropped.

How do I Defend My Theft Charge?

There are many defences available to individuals charged with theft, depending on the circumstances of their case.

Sometimes people charged with theft will argue that they did not steal anything, either because they are unaware that they committed theft, or because they genuinely believed that they had ownership over or a valid property interest in the thing or money alleged to have been stolen.

It is possible to take something inadvertently, where an item gets lost at the bottom of your shopping cart or falls into your bag, for example. Where this is the case, you will have a strong defence to theft charges.  It is also possible to be unaware that you took something because someone else tricked you into stealing it or has hidden an item in your things so that they would not be caught with it.

For example, if your friend convinces you that they already paid for something and asks you to put it in your purse, or simply puts the item in your purse without you noticing, you will lack the necessary intent for theft.

Where the individual believes that they have ownership of an item or a valid property interest in that item, they will also not have committed theft. This can occur, for example, where an individual believes they were gifted an item when they were truly only permitted by its true owner to temporarily borrow that item, for example.

There are several other ways to defend a theft charge, such as by bringing Charter challenges, for example. A Charter challenge can be brought where an accused’s rights or freedoms were not respected during the investigation or prosecution of their case.

Once retained, counsel at Donich Law will help you understand which defences can be used in your case to help you achieve favourable results.

What are the Penalties for Theft?

Theft over $5,000.00 and theft under $5,000.00 are both hybrid offences, meaning the Crown can elect to proceed by indictment or summarily and affect the maximum penalties the accused faces. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment on a theft over $5,000.00 charge, the accused will face a maximum sentence of ten years in jail. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment on a theft under $5,000.00 charge, the accused faces a maximum penalty of two years in jail. Where the Crown proceeds summarily on either a theft over $5,000.00 or theft under $5,000.00 charge, the accused faces a maximum of two years less a day in jail and/or a up to $5,000.00 fine.

Besides jail time, an accused convicted of theft could receive a sentence including probation, community service, restitution, and/or a fine.

A theft charge can have negative employment, travel, and immigration consequences, alongside the possible legal sanctions. Those convicted of theft from their employer, regardless of the amount stolen, are often terminated from their employment and find it difficult to obtain new employment where Criminal Record checks are required. Those convicted of theft may also have issues travelling, obtaining permanent residency in Canada, and obtaining Canadian citizenship.

Due to the many serious consequences of a theft conviction, it is important to retain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible if you have been charged with theft.

Quick Facts

Will I have to Return what I Stole?

You may be ordered, upon conviction, to forfeit what you stole or pay restitution for the value of what you stole. If you voluntarily decide to do this before conviction, it will be considered a mitigating factor that could lead to a lighter sentence or even a discharge.

Is Taking Someone’s Pet Theft or Kidnapping?

The Criminal Code considers animals to be property and not people. This means that if you take someone’s dog, for example, you will be charged with theft and not kidnapping.

What if I Took Something That is Rightfully Mine?

Where you have a legal right to an item or have a reasonable and honest belief that you have a legal right to it, you will not have committed theft. To use this defence successfully, you will have to prove why you genuinely thought you had a legal right to the item you are accused of stealing. If you signed a lease on a car, for example, you will not be convicted of theft for driving away in that car.

What if I Thought the Owner Had Thrown the Item Out?

If you believed that the item had been discarded or abandoned when you obtained it, you may not have committed theft by taking that item. When someone throws out or abandons something, they give up their ownership of that item. Where an item has no owner, you will not have stolen it from anyone by taking it.

Will I be Allowed to Travel with a Theft Conviction?

A theft conviction may make it difficult to travel anywhere outside of Canada, particularly the United States. The United States reserves the right to deny entry to anyone who has committed any criminal offence.

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