Donich Law often represents individuals charged with theft and has represented clients accused of stealing items ranging in value from 10 cents to upwards of $50,000. Low level theft charges will be laid where the retailer or employer is highly motivated to lay charges. The Firm often successfully resolves these cases in the client’s favour without the client receiving a criminal record, regardless of the value alleged to have been stolen. The Frim has also avoided criminal convictions in rare outcomes of theft from work. If you have been charged with theft of any value, Donich Law can also help to ensure that your rights are respected while handling your defence.

Donich Law obtained the dismissal of nine charges of theft and fraud for a client who was accused of stealing products from The Bay in R. v. G.E. [2017].

Donich Law successfully defended a man accused of stealing $3,000.00 worth of Blue Jays merchandise from the Rogers Center in R. v. J.A. [2017], resulting in the withdrawal of all charges.

Donich Law successfully negotiated for the dismissal of all charges against a Canada Post employee in R. v. S.A [2017]. The employee was accused of stealing more than $50,000.00 from the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Donich Law successfully defended a CIBC employee accused of stealing $18,500.00 in cash in R. v. D.D. [2017] without the client obtaining a criminal record.

Donich Law successfully defended an employee caught stealing $1,500.00 worth of menswear from The Bay in R. v. C.T. [2016]. This case was resolved without the client receiving a criminal record.

Donich Law represented a Toronto doctor who was found stealing more than $3,000.00 worth of merchandise in R. v. S.Y. [2016], securing the dismissal of the Theft Under $5,000.00 charge.

Donich Law successfully had all eight theft and fraud charges stemming from shoplifting withdrawn in R. v. K.L. [2015].

Donich Law successfully defended a client accused of taking part in an internal theft ring at HomeSense in R. v. S.C. [2015] without this client acquiring a criminal record.

The Firm successfully defended a client accused of defrauding RBC of $56,000.00 in R. v. A.N. [2013] without the client obtaining a criminal record.

Donich Law ensured that none of the employees accused of being involved in the internal theft ring at Target Canada in R. v. N.B. [2013] obtained a criminal record.

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

Does the Value Stolen Matter?
Can my Theft Charge get Dropped?
How can I Defend a Theft Charge?
Is it Theft if I Have not Left the Store Yet?

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

Does the Value Stolen Matter?

The value stolen does matter for a couple of reasons.

First, the value stolen will affect the specific theft charge issued, which affects the maximum penalty an accused can receive on conviction. If the value stolen is over $5,000.00, the accused will receive a charge of theft over $5,000.00, and if the value stolen is under $5,000.00, the accused will receive a charge of theft under $5,000.00. Theft under $5,000.00 carries a maximum penalty of two years less a day in jail and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Theft over $5,000.00 carries a maximum penalty of ten years in jail.

If the item stolen is a vehicle, this will result in a charge of theft of a motor vehicle, which can result in the accused being sentenced to a maximum of ten years in jail, regardless of the vehicle’s value.

The second reason the value stolen matters is because it can be considered an aggravating or mitigating factor that will either increase or reduce the severity of the sentence received. Where the value stolen is minimal, the charges are more likely to be dropped or result in a discharge. This is also true where only one item is alleged to have been stolen as opposed to several items. However, where the theft involved a breach of trust, such as theft from a relative or employer, courts will want to impose a harsher penalty. The same is true if the theft was committed against a vulnerable member of society, such as a child or elderly person.

Can my Theft Charge get Dropped?

Theft charges can get dropped, but this will depend on the circumstances of the case and the accused.

Where the amount stolen was minimal and it was the accused’s first offence, the Crown will consider dropping the charges, sometimes requiring the accused complete counselling or community service work first.

Where the accused can present evidence to show their innocence, the Crown will also consider dropping the charges instead of proceeding to trial.

Alternatively, where the crown is not amenable to dropping the charges, they may be willing to reduce the charges from more serious ones to less serious ones. For example, a theft over $5,000.00 charge could potentially be reduced to a theft under $5,000.00 charge and allow the accused to serve a lesser penalty than if they had been convicted of theft over $5,000.00.

Where counsel is quickly retained, counsel can also negotiate with the victim to resolve the matter before charges are laid.

How can I Defend a Theft Charge?

There are many possible ways to defend a theft charge.

One common way is to argue that you had an interest in or ownership of the item or funds alleged to have been stolen. For example, if you are accused of stealing a car, you could demonstrate that you have a valid lease for that car.

Another strategy is to argue that you did not actually steal anything. Often, when a person who shoplifts has entered the store with another person or group of persons, police will charge all these people with theft, even if they were not seen taking anything. This defence will be easy to prove where no stolen items or money is later found on you, or where security footage will corroborate your claims.

A third common way to defend theft is to argue a lack of intent and argue that you did not realize you had taken anything. This defence can be claimed where something fell into your bag without your knowledge, for example, or where you did not realize that two items were stuck together, and you only paid for one.

These are only some of the many possible defences to a theft charge, and on reviewing the circumstances of your case, counsel at Donich Law can help you understand which is most likely to help you achieve favourable results.

Is it Theft if I Have not Left the Store yet?

Theft charges can be laid where a person has not yet left the store they are stealing items or money from. Usually, police will wait until the person has left the store without paying to confirm the required mens rea or “intention to steal” component of the offence of theft. However, where an accused’s intention to not pay for the items is apparent before they have left the store, police will have enough reasonable suspicion to charge them with theft.

This could happen in cases where an individual fills up a suitcase or duffel bag of alcohol bottles in an LCBO, as it would be reasonable to assume that this individual will not be paying for those bottles. This can also happen where it is apparent that the individual is attempting to hide an item they have not yet paid for. Where the accused is stealing directly from the cash registers or is stealing from other customers in the store, the intent to steal is clearly present while the accused is still in the store.

Quick Facts

Will I have to Return what I Stole?

There is a possibility that those convicted of theft will be ordered to return what they stole or the value of what they stole. Accused persons who voluntarily return what they stole or the value of what they stole before conviction could receive a lighter sentence.

Is Taking Someone’s Pet Theft or Kidnapping?

Taking someone’s pet is considered theft and not kidnapping as the Criminal Code defines animals as property.

What if I Took Something That is Rightfully Mine?

If you have a legal right to something, or genuinely and reasonably believe you have a legal right to something, you will not have committed theft by taking that thing. You must be able to provide proof of why you thought you had a legal right to the item, such as a lease or a receipt, for example.

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

If you can prove you had a genuine and reasonable belief that the owner discarded or abandoned their item before you took it, you will likely not be convicted of theft.

Can I Travel with a Theft Conviction?

Any criminal conviction makes it difficult to travel out of the country. Individuals with theft convictions may need to wait several years before travelling to other countries, including the United States, or may need to apply for a waiver from the country they are travelling to.

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