What is theft under $5000 / theft over $5000 in Canada?

>>>What is theft under $5000 / theft over $5000 in Canada?

In Canada, you can be charged with theft when you take or convert anything that belongs to another person with the intent to deprive that person temporarily or permanently of that good. To convert something means that you acquired some one else’s property, and then transformed it into another good for your own benefit. For example, you can unlawfully convert something when you innocently and accidentally acquire someone else’s money, and then you spend it while knowing that it was not rightfully yours in the first place.

In order to be found guilty of theft in Canada, the Crown Prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements:

  • That you moved something, caused something to be moved, or began to move something that belonged to someone else;
  • That you moved the property with intent to steal it either temporarily or absolutely without the owner’s consent; and,
  • The approximate value of the property you tried to steal.

Because many places are monitored with CCTV footage, it is often the case that there is strong evidence of your theft, especially in cases of shoplifting. However, if you have been charged with theft and there appears to be very strong evidence against you, do not give up hope and plead guilty. With the assistance of a good criminal defence lawyer, there could be a chance that you can walk away from your charges without a criminal record.

The Difference Between Theft Under $5000 And Theft Over $5000

In Canada, theft charges fall into two categories: theft over $5000.00 and theft under $5000.00.

Theft over $5000.00 is the more serious of the two charges and it is a straight indictable offence for which you can face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Theft under $5000.00 is a hybrid offence which means that the Crown will be able to choose to prosecute you either summarily or by indictment. If the Crown chooses to prosecute you by indictment, they will likely be seeking jail time. Even if the Crown chooses to prosecute you summarily, you can still face up to 6 months in jail if you are convicted of theft under $5000.00.

Whether you are being charged summarily or by indictment, your theft charges will be taken seriously by the Crown. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly believe that their charges will simply be dropped because they did not steal anything of great value. This is simply not the case. Even if you are first-time offender and you have been charged with stealing goods of very little value, if you are convicted of theft in Canada you will end up with a criminal record.

The Penalty for Theft in Canada:

If you are convicted of theft in Canada, there is a very wide range of sentences that you can receive. The sentence that you get for committing theft will depend heavily on the particular circumstances of your offence, as well as your personal circumstances.

For example, when sentencing you the court will consider things such as the value of the goods that you stole, whether you breached a position of trust to steal them, and whether you have a pre-existing criminal record. For example, if you breached a position of trust by stealing from your employer while at work, it will be considered a very aggravating factor and will likely lead to a significantly harsher sentence. Further, if you have an existing criminal record with recent theft charges, you can also expect that the severity of your penalty will likely be increased.

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All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

We offer flexible payment options and structures designed to meet our clients’ individual needs. Our lawyers accept all major credit cards, bank drafts, money orders, email money transfers (e-transfers) and, of course, cash.

If you decide to retain us after the free initial consultation, all we need is a retainer (down payment) to get started. The rest of the fee payments for the case can be spaced out over time. We can set you up on a monthly or bi-monthly payment plan, and process payments over the telephone or by email to make it easy for you.

The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.