FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND THEFT CHARGES IN NEWMARKET.  416-DEFENCE.

Theft is among the most common offences before the Court in York Region and across Ontario. In many cases, otherwise law-abiding citizens find themselves charged with a criminal offence and unsure of where to turn. At Donich Law we have extensive experience defending individuals charged with theft including cases of theft in an employment setting and shoplifting from retailers. In many cases we are able to negotiate with the Crown and the complainant to resolve the matter without a criminal record.

We have experience dealing with many major retailers in York Region and the GTA including The Bay, Winners, Home Depot, Sephora, Loblaw, LCBO, Yorkdale Mall, Toronto Eaton Center, Holt Renfrew and Shoppers Drug Mart. In some cases, the Firm has been able to negotiate directly with The Bay Corporate Headquarters in New York to resolve internal employee theft rings prior to law enforcement becoming involved.

We have experience defending clients charged with various theft offences of various values including those charged with participating in sophisticated theft schemes. In many cases individuals who have been charged with theft have been wrongfully accused or simply made a mistake. We can help you develop a strategy to defend your case to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

In R. v. Z.U. [2018], the Firm defended an individual charged with nine counts of fraud, including laundering foreign proceeds in the U.S. after allegedly participating in a Gold Bullion scheme valued at roughly one million dollars. The Firm was able to have all nine charges stayed, resolving the case without a criminal record for the accused.

In R. v. S.A. [2017], the Firm represented a Canada Post employee who was charged with four counts of fraud for allegedly attempting to defraud a major bank out of $50,000. The Firm was able to resolve the case without a criminal record for the accused. In R. v. D.D. [2017], the Firm represented a CIBC bank employee charged with theft after being accused of stealing $18,500 in cash from the bank. The Firm was able to resolve the matter without a criminal record for the accused.

In R. v. S.Y. [2016], the Firm represented a doctor charged with theft after stealing $3,000 in merchandise from The Bay. The Firm was able to have the charges withdrawn. In R. v. J.A. [2016], the Firm represented an employee of the Rogers Center who was charged with three counts of theft, fraud and attempted theft after allegedly stealing $3,000 worth of Blue Jays merchandise. The Firm was able to negotiate with the Crown to have all charges withdrawn.

In R. v. K.L. [2015], the Firm defended an individual charged with eight counts of theft, fraud and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence for allegedly participating in a theft ring targeting Target Canada and Staples. The Firm was able to have all of the charges withdrawn. In R. v. G.G. [2015], the Firm represented a BMO bank teller alleged to have been stealing money on the job. The Firm was able to negotiate with the Crown to have the charges withdrawn, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the accused.

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 or Shoplifting?
What is the Difference between Theft and Fraud?
What are the Penalties for a Theft Conviction in York Region?
Is there a Difference Between Theft and Shoplifring?
What is Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?
What if I was Caught for Shoplifting but not Charged?

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?

The definition of theft is quite broad and encompasses a wide variety of actions. The offence is outlined in section 322(1) of the Criminal Code. The Code states that an individual is guilty of the offence of theft 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 else with a special property interest of the item or thing, to pledge it or deposit it as security, to deal with it in such a manner that is cannot be restored to the condition it was in when it was taken or converted, or to part with it under a condition of its return which may not be able to be fulfilled.

What is the Difference Between Theft and Fraud?

The offences of fraud and theft are quite similar and contain many of the same elements. In both cases, the Crown must prove that the accused deprived another individual of an item. In fraud cases however, the Crown must also prove that the accused took steps to cover up their unlawful actions. An individual who is guilty of fraud must have had the intention to cover up their actions, which is not required for a theft offence. Fraud is generally considered to be the more serious of the two offences.

What are the Penalties for a Theft Conviction in York Region?

Being convicted of any criminal offence can lead to serious consequences for accused individuals. Theft offences are of the most common before the Court in York Region and across Ontario. Individuals may be charged with theft for a wide range of actions including low level shoplifting offences to stealing high value items such as a vehicle or vessel. As a result of this, the penalties for those convicted of theft may also vary significantly.

Theft under $5,000 and theft over $5,000 are both hybrid offences. This gives the Crown discretion to determine the maximum penalties that the Court may imposed on the accused if they are convicted. The Crown will generally proceed by indictment in cases involving more serious allegations or involving items of a higher value. On the other hand, the Crown will proceed summarily in cases involving less serious allegations or where the value of the items taken is lower.

In cases involving theft under $5,000 allegations where the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years. Where the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years less a day, a $5,000 fine or both.

In cases involving theft over $5,000 allegations where the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years less a day, a $5,000 fine or both.

If you have been charged with a theft offence it is important to contact experienced legal counsel right away to assist you in developing the best strategy to defend your case. Donich Law has experience defending a variety of individuals charged with thefts of various values. We are regularly able to resolve cases involving first time offenders with no criminal record for the accused.

Is there a Difference Between Theft and Shoplifting?

No. Shoplifting is simply one of the ways individuals commit theft. Whether or not the individual will be charged with theft under $5,000 or theft over $5,000 will depend on the value of the items taken. Generally, when a store discovers one of their customers has stolen something, they will stop the individual and contact law enforcement. Generally, those arrested for shoplifting are charged with theft under $5,000, however, in some cases accused individuals may be charged with theft over $5,000. In some cases, those arrested for shoplifting are also charged with possession of property obtained by crime for having the stolen items in their possession. Shoplifting is one of the most common ways people are arrested and charged with theft and can lead to serious consequences for those who are convicted.

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. It states that an individual is guilty of possession of property obtained by crime when they have in their possession any property or thing, or any proceeds of any property or thing knowing that part or all of the property or thing was obtained by, or derived from, either directly or indirectly, from 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. An individual may be charged with this offence even where they have sold the stolen items and retained the proceeds.

Individuals who are caught stealing and charged with a theft or fraud offence are often also charged with possession of property obtained by crime. It is common for those charged with shoplifting or theft of a vessel or motor vehicle to also be charged with this offence.

Possession of property obtained by crime offences are hybrid offences, meaning the Crown determines the maximum penalty that may be imposed upon the accused if the accused is convicted, based on the severity of the allegations. Where the subject matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or is valued at more than $5,000, the accused will be guilty of a hybrid offence. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years. Where the Crown proceeds summarily the accused will face a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years less a day, a $5,000 fine or both.

Where the subject matter of the offence is valued at less than $5,000 the accused will be guilty of hybrid offence. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment the accused will face a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years. Where the Crown proceeds summarily, the accused will be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years less a day, a $5,000 fine or both.

What if I was Caught for Shoplifting but not Charged?

In some jurisdictions in the GTA, those who are arrested as first-time offenders for low value shoplifting offences will be given a warning, told not to return to the store and released without charge. For example, those caught stealing at certain shopping centres may be told by the property owner not to enter onto the property again for a fixed period of time. In these cases, no court proceedings are initiated against the accused and it is unlikely that the police will choose to lay charges at a later date. However, it is important for the accused not to violate the order prohibiting them from returning to the property. An individual who violates the order could be charged with criminal trespassing.

Quick Facts

What is Theft in Newmarket?

An individual is guilty of the offence of theft when they fraudulently and without colour of right takes or converts any item with the intention of depriving the rightful owner of it. Theft offences are separated based on the value of the items taken or converted. An individual who steals something valued at under $5,000 will be charged with theft under $5,000. An individual who steals items valued in excess of $5,000 will be charged with theft over $5,000.

Can I get Community Service for Theft?

In some cases, yes. Sentences for those convicted of theft can range significantly from community service, probation and fines to prison time. Those who are being charged with a criminal offence for the first time or those who stole items with a low value will have a better chance of being handed a more lenient penalty upon sentencing. Individuals who are repeat offenders or who are charged with more serious theft offences like theft over $5,000 will generally receive harsher penalties.

Can I go to Jail for Theft?

Yes. The sentences imposed on individuals convicted of theft can range significantly from one offender to another depending on a multitude of factors. For more minor offences, those charged with theft may receive a discharge, probation, community service or a fine. In more serious cases or where the individual is a repeat offender or stole items of a high value, a sentence including imprisonment may be handed down by the Court.

How does the Crown Prove Theft?

As with any criminal offence in Canada, the burden of proof lies with the Crown to prove to the Court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused committed the offence they have been charged with. To gain a theft conviction the Crown must prove the value of the items taken, and that the accused moved, took or converted the items without colour of right. The Crown must also prove that the accused intended to deprive the rightful owner of the items.

What is the Difference Between Theft Under $5,000 and Theft Over $5,000?

Theft offences are grouped into two categories based on the value of the items taken; theft under $5,000 and theft over $5,000. Theft under $5,000 is a hybrid offence, meaning the Crown may determine the maximum penalty available upon sentencing. Theft over $5,000 is also a hybrid offence but comes with more severe maximum penalties for those who are convicted.

Will People Find out About my Theft Charge?

When an accused person is convicted of a criminal offence in Canada it becomes part of the public record, available for anyone to access. Additionally, the majority of court proceedings are open for the public to attend. In some theft cases, it is possible to resolve the matter quickly with few court appearances and no criminal record for the accused. This will limit the likelihood that anyone will find out about your charges.

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623