FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND POSSESSION OF PROPERTY OBTAINED BY CRIME.  416-DEFENCE.

If you have been charged with possession of property obtained by crime in Toronto, Donich Law can assist you in resolving the charges with a favourable outcome. Being charged with a criminal offence can be a confusing and stressful situation. This is especially true for first time offenders and for those who have been wrongfully accused.

Donich Law has experience defending individuals charged with possession of property obtained by crime, theft, fraud, and other similar offences in Toronto and throughout Ontario. We combine risk management, negotiation, and litigation to achieve the best results for our clients.

As outlined in section 354(1) of the Criminal Code, an individual has committed the offence of possession of property obtained by crime when they have in their possession any property, thing, or proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or part of the property or thing, or proceeds was obtained by or derived either directly or indirectly from

  • The commission of an offence in Canada that is punishable by indictment; or
  • An act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada would be considered a crime punishable by indictment.

This means that an accused person must have had knowledge that the property, thing, or proceeds were stolen. An individual who genuinely had no knowledge that the property, thing, or proceeds were obtained through criminal activity will not be convicted of an offence.

In many cases, police will lay a possession of property obtained by crime charge along with theft or fraud charges. For example, an employee found stealing from their place of employment may be charged with theft as well as possession of property obtained by crime if the items stolen can be recovered in the employee’s possession.

Further, if the accused person sells, gives, transfers, transports, exports, imports, sends, delivers, or deals with in any other way, or offer to do any of those acts, the accused may also be charged with trafficking in property obtained by crime under section 355.2 of the Criminal Code. Again, the accused must have been aware that the property, thing, or proceeds were obtained by crime.

For example, an individual selling stolen goods online on Kijiji, Facebook Market or any other platform may be charged with possession of property obtained by crime under section 354(1) or with trafficking property obtained by crime under section 355.2 of the Criminal Code. An individual selling stolen goods online may also be charged with theft or fraud, depending on the facts of the case.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal OffenceYour 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

How does the Crown Prove Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?
What is the Punishment for Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?
How to Defend a Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Charge?

Additional Resources

Assault
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

How does the Crown Prove Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

As with all criminal offences in Canada, the burden lies with the Crown attorney to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused is guilty of the offence(s) as charged. The accused is not required to present any evidence to the Court to show that they are innocent, although in many cases it is prudent to do so.

To gain a conviction for a possession of property obtained by crime charge, the Crown must prove the identity of the accused, the date and time of the alleged offence, the jurisdiction in which the offence was committed, and that the accused was in possession of any property or thing or the proceeds of any property or thing obtained by crime. The Crown must prove that the accused knew or should have known that the property, thing, or proceeds were obtained through the commission of an offence punishable by indictment. The Crown must prove the date that the items were stolen, and that the property or item was owned by someone else who did not lend the item or give the accused permission to take the property or item. The Crown must prove that the accused had no colour of right in the property or item (no legal right to possess) and the value of the property or item. In the case of shoplifting, the Crown must also prove that the accused made no attempt to pay for the items stolen.

What is the Punishment for Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

The penalties for those convicted of possession of property obtained by crime will depend largely on the value of the property, thing, or proceeds in the accused’s possession. As a result, sentences may differ significantly from one offender to the next.

Possession of Property obtained by crime is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown attorney will make an election, determining how the case will proceed through the justice system. The Crown may elect to proceed summarily or by indictment. This decision is generally based on the severity of the allegations. The most serious cases will be prosecuted by indictment and all other cases will be prosecuted summarily.

Where the value of the property, thing, or proceeds exceeds $5,000 or where the item is a testamentary instrument and the Crown elects to proceed summarily, an accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment an accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison.

Where the value of the property, thing, or proceeds does not exceed $5,000 and the Crown elects to proceed summarily, an accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Where the Crown elects to proceed by indictment, an accused will face a maximum of two years in prison.

The Court will weigh many factors when determining the appropriate sentence for an accused. Aside from the Crown’s election and the maximum penalties provided in the Criminal Code, the Court will also consider any relevant mental health issues, the criminal history of the accused, the impact the offence had on any victims in the case and any other relevant aggravating or mitigating factors.

How to Defend a Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Charge?

The best defence in any criminal case will depend largely on the facts of the case, the allegations and the evidence in possession of the Crown. Before the Court can find an offender guilty, the Crown must prove that the accused was in possession of the property, thing, or proceeds and that the accused had knowledge or should have had knowledge that the property, thing, or proceeds were obtained through criminal activity.

In some cases, an accused individual may argue that they did not have knowledge that the property, thing, or proceeds were obtained through crime. If an accused person was duped into purchasing stolen goods and genuinely had no knowledge that the items were obtained through crime, they cannot be convicted of the offence. This defence will only be successful however, where the accused was genuinely unaware of the situation. If the accused was willfully blind or reckless as to the true nature of the situation, this defence will not be successful.

In other cases, it may be possible to defend a possession of property obtained by crime charge through a Charter challenge. For example, if police illegally searched an accused’s property to recover the property, thing, or proceeds, the accused’s rights have been violated. In many cases, the remedy to this violation is to exclude the evidence gathered because of the violation. This may mean important evidence will be excluded, making it impossible for the Crown to prove their case.

If you have been charged with possession of property obtained by crime it is important to contact experienced legal counsel. Donich Law can assist you in navigating the legal system. We will develop the best defence for your charges to help obtain a favourable outcome.

Quick Facts

What is Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

An individual is guilty of possession of property obtained by crime where they have in their possession any property, thing, or proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or part of the property, thing, or proceeds was obtained by or derived either directly or indirectly from an indictable criminal offence.

Will I go to Jail for Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

In some cases, yes. In most cases however, an individual convicted of possession of property obtained by crime will not be issued to a custodial sentence. More commonly, those convicted of this offence will be sentenced to a period of probation, ordered to pay a fine or given a suspended sentence.

What is the Maximum Sentence for Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

Possession of property obtained by crime is a hybrid offence. This means the sentence from one offender to the next can vary significantly. Where the Crown proceeds summarily an accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment and the value of the items do not exceed $5,000 an accused will face a maximum of two years in prison. Where the Crown proceeds by indictment and the value of the goods exceeds $5,000, an accused will face a maximum of ten years in prison.

Can I get a Discharge for Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

Yes. In minor cases or cases where the value of the property or items taken is very low, the Crown may agree to a discharge. This means that the case will resolve without a criminal record for the accused.

How will a Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Conviction Impact me?

In Canada, a criminal record of any kind can have a negative impact on an offender’s life even after they have completed their sentence. Those who have a criminal record may have difficulty finding employment, especially in certain fields or professions. Additionally, those with a criminal record may have difficulty traveling outside of Canada and may be refused entry into other countries.

If I Stole from my Job can I be Charged with Possession of Property Obtained by Crime?

Yes. If you have stolen from your place of employment it is likely you will be charged with theft and possession of property obtained by crime if you are caught. Law enforcement will lay a possession of property obtained by crime charge where an accused is still in possession of the stolen items or proceeds from the items.

What are Common Penalties for First Time Offenders?

Sentences for possession of property obtained by crime can vary significantly from one offender to the next, including between first time offenders. First time offenders convicted of possession of property obtained by crime may be sentenced to a period of probation, ordered to pay a fine or ordered to complete community services hours.

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623