Call Today: 403-719-6410
Theft 2020-05-30T05:09:59+00:00

Your Guide to Theft Charges by Theft Lawyers in Calgary

Theft is a type of non-violent property offence that covers a variety of illegal acts, including shoplifting or taking the personal property of a friend, family member, or stranger without their consent.

The relevant provisions for theft in the Criminal Code of Canada are:

calgary theft lawyers

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, a person commits theft when they take something that belongs to another person with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive them of that good.

Theft is generally divided into two categories:

  1. Theft in an amount over $5,000
  2. Theft in an amount at or less than $5,000

In order to be found guilty of theft in Canada, the Crown Prosecutor will be required 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.

Other common variations of this type of offence include Possession of Stolen Property and Motor Vehicle Theft. If the theft involves violence or the threat of violence, you may be charged with Robbery.

Investigation of Theft Charges in Calgary

An investigation of an allegation of theft in Calgary is typically started by a complaint from a witness to the alleged theft. This may be the alleged victim, who claims that their personal property was taken without their consent, or it may be someone who claims to have witnessed the theft as it was taking place, such as a Loss Prevention Officer (i.e. Security Guard) at a store. The police will attend the scene and request a written statement from the alleged victim or any other witness, and launch an investigation.

The vast majority of theft investigations occur quickly. The alleged perpetrator may even be present at the scene and in the custody of the Loss Prevention Officer when the police arrive, which is often the case in shoplifting investigations. However, even if the perpetrator of the theft is not present, the police may attempt to access security footage or other records to find out who committed the offence.

After the police have gathered their evidence, they will arrest you if they believe you are the perpetrator. If you are not present at the scene, police will track you down and arrest you. Police may then decide to charge you immediately, or they may transport you to the Police District Office for further questioning and processing, before deciding whether or not to lay charges.

After you have been charged, police will provide a package with all the evidence they collected, known as the “disclosure package”, to the Crown Prosecutor. You will have the right to access this disclosure package to see the evidence against you. Once you retain one of our lawyers, we will assist you in obtaining the disclosure package, and we will review it with you to assess the strengths and weaknesses in the Crown’s case, as well as any legal defences that may be available to you.

Bail Process and Conditions for Theft Charges in Calgary

How do I get myself or a loved one out on bail for theft charges in Calgary?

If you have been charged with theft, it is not uncommon for police to release you at the scene on a Release Order. Police will provide you with a document outlining your charges, and any required appearances you must make to deal with these charges. This document may also include conditions that you are required to follow while on release (such as not attending the location where the theft occurred).

However, a formal bail hearing may be required to secure your release, particularly if you have a criminal record, or if the theft allegations are more serious.

In order to conduct a bail hearing, you will be transferred from the district office to the Spyhill Services Centre. The bail hearing must be held within 24 hours, a period that starts from the moment of arrest or detention rather than the time when you are brought to the Centre. Although for many years the Centre was located downtown Calgary, it is now situated in the deep North West of Calgary, which makes getting home after being released far more difficult for many people. The exact address of the Centre is as follows:

Spyhill Services Centre
12500 85th Street, N.W.
Tel: 403-428-3400

Loved ones are not able to contact you while you are detained. The police will not release any information to friends or family due to privacy laws. Your lawyer is the only person allowed to contact you. Once the police have verified your lawyer’s details, they will pass on details about your whereabouts, if requested.

Because of these difficulties while you are held in custody, it is best to appoint a competent defence lawyer as soon as possible to manage the legal processes and communicate with loved ones. After an arrest, the police must provide you with the opportunity to call a lawyer in private and, until that happens, stop questioning you.

Once you retain one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers, we will begin working to secure your release on bail. We will immediately do the following:

  1. Call into the Court Services Centre in Calgary and speak to you;
  2. Contact the Prosecutor assigned to the bail hearing to start negotiating your release;
  3. Order and secure a copy of the police information package that details the allegations against you in advance of the bail hearing. This allows the lawyer to make meaningful representations to the court about why you should be released on bail; and
  4. Conduct either an in-person or teleconference bail hearing to secure your release.

When you attend your bail hearing, the Judge will consider the following factors:

  1. Is detention necessary to secure your attendance in court?
  2. Is detention necessary to protect the public from a substantial risk of re-offence?
  3. Is detention necessary in all the circumstances to maintain confidence in the administration of justice?

Although it is unlikely that you will be denied bail for this type of charge, tight restrictions may nevertheless be applied to your release.

Rest assured, we will work to not only secure your release but also ensure the least restrictive set of bail conditions (including the minimum cash deposit) possible.

In order for our lawyers to secure less stringent conditions, the judge will need to be satisfied that you will attend court as required and that you pose no significant risk of harm to the public.

Our lawyers are often successful at persuading the Crown Prosecutor in charge of bail to let our clients out. If we can’t convince the prosecutor, we can conduct a formal bail hearing and work to convince the Court. Even if you are ultimately detained, we can appeal that decision on very short notice through a Bail Review.

Where can I pay for bail for theft charges in Calgary?

If you or a loved one is charged with theft in Calgary, and granted bail, you may be required to put down a cash deposit to secure release. The cash deposit can be paid at any bail hearing office (courthouse) in Alberta. Even if you live in Edmonton, you can pay bail there for someone detained in Calgary.

Bail hearing offices in Calgary are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The contact details of the bail hearing office at the Calgary Courts Centre are as follows:

Calgary Courts Centre
601 5th Street SW
Tel: 403-297-4444

You can also make a bail payment at the Calgary Remand Centre prior to 8:30 pm.

To pay your own bail, you can make a payment after you have your hearing, assuming you have sufficient funds with you to do so.

How do I change my release conditions for theft charges in Calgary?

Release on bail for theft charges may include restrictions that impact your day-to-day life. This could include conditions to refrain from:

  • Interacting with any alleged victim
  • Attending the location where the theft took place
  • Breaking any laws
  • Using drugs or alcohol
  • Leaving your house (i.e. house arrest)
  • Staying out beyond a certain time (i.e. curfew)
  • Travelling to other provinces or countries
  • Using certain modes of transportation (i.e. being in a motor vehicle without the registered owner)
  • Possessing weapons or firearms

The judge can also impose some additional conditions, such as:

  • Residing where approved
  • Reporting to probation
  • Attending counselling
  • Maintaining or seeking employment

A variety of factors will be considered when determining your precise conditions, including:

  • Your criminal history
  • Your physical and mental health
  • The nature of the alleged theft
  • The likelihood that you will flee
  • Your history of drug/alcohol usage
  • Whether you have stable employment
  • Whether you have stable living arrangements
  • Whether you have ties to the community

If you have already been released, at least for the short term, it is very important that you make arrangements to abide by your conditions until they can be changed. Failing to follow these conditions can have significant consequences, such as losing your release and being placed back in custody, as well as forfeiting any cash put down to secure your release. You can also be charged criminally for failing to follow these conditions.

Once the matter is in court, we can work with the Crown prosecutor to alter your conditions. This includes either adding exceptions to some of the conditions or deleting them altogether.

If your court date is still far away and you just can’t wait until then, we can arrange to have the matter dealt with sooner. Our first priority is always to stabilize your release conditions. That way, you will not feel pressured to plead guilty because of the restrictive terms of your release. Once the conditions are manageable and minimally intrusive to your daily routine, we can focus 100% of our attention on defending the case.

calgary theft lawyers

Penalties for Theft Charges in Calgary

Since a wide array of acts fall under the offence of theft, there is also a wide array of potential penalties if you are found guilty of theft. The potential penalties can range anywhere from a discharge (i.e. a finding of guilt, but no criminal conviction), to a fine and/or probation, to a period of jail.

The Criminal Code of Canada outlines the maximum allowable punishment for theft as follows:

  • For theft in an amount over $5,000:
    • Not more than 10 years’ jail.
  • For theft in an amount at or under $5,000:
    • Not more than 2 years’ jail if the Crown is proceeding by indictment; or
    • Not more than 2 years’ less a day jail if the Crown is proceeding by summary conviction.

The potential sentences available to you will depend on a variety of factors, including the amount that was taken, the relationship between you and the victim of the theft, your criminal history, and other applicable personal factors.

While a number of factors could increase the likelihood of jail, two of the most significant factors are:

  1. Whether the theft was over $5,000; and/or
  2. Whether the theft occurred in the course of your employment, or another trust-based relationship.

If either factor is present in your case, the Crown will almost always seek a jail sentence.

In addition to the above penalties associated with being found guilty, a conviction for theft, even of a small amount, can have wide-ranging negative consequences in your life. Theft is considered a “crime of dishonesty” and a conviction will therefore affect your reputation in your community. Potential employers may refuse or terminate your employment if their business involves handling money or the use of valuable property. Your friends, family and peers may view you as unworthy of their trust.

Therefore, even if you intend on accepting responsibility for this type of offence, it is worthwhile to explore your options and consider all the potentially available penalties. Often, good representation can result in no criminal record. Alternatively, a community-based sentence may be obtained even where the Crown is seeking jail time.

Rest assured, our lawyers will work hard to defend you so that you are not saddled with the consequences that stem from a criminal conviction for this offence. In fact, we can canvass a range of sentencing options with the prosecutors that will either leave you with no criminal record or impose minimal restrictions on your liberty after sentencing. To learn more about potential non-criminal resolutions, please visit our Resolutions page, or read our FAQ on Resolutions and other sentencing options.

Defending Theft Charges in Calgary

What are the best defences to theft charges in Calgary?

In theft cases, the defences that may be available to you depend on the facts of your case. In general, the best defences for theft are:

  • Factual Innocence: This is usually the strongest defence because the facts and the evidence do not support you being there, causing the theft, or other basic elements of the offence. This could include:
  • No mental intent: A common defence available in theft cases is that you did not intend to take the property. A basic example would be if you accidentally walked out of a store with an item you did not pay for.
  • You owned the property: You cannot steal what is actually yours. Therefore, if you are able to establish that you had a proprietary or possessory interest in the item, you may be able to defend yourself against the charges. Documents proving ownership of the property will likely be of significant assistance in raising this defence. However, even if you have a proprietary or possessory right in the good, if you take it from another person by fraudulent means, you could still be charged with theft in certain circumstances. For example, you could not use the proprietary interest you have in your vehicle to steal it from an impound lot without paying the fee.
  • Identity: In some circumstances where the offence was not recorded by surveillance footage, or the footage is poor quality, you may be able to raise an identity defence. For example, authorities could have made a mistake in identifying you as the perpetrator based on the poor quality of the footage. In order to effectively raise this defence, you may need corroborative evidence, such as an alibi to where you were at the time of the offence.
  • Violation of constitutional rights: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out your rights before and after your arrest. If the police fail to follow these rights, it could aid in your defence.
  • “Colour of Right”: This defence may arise when you honestly believed you had a lawful right to property, when in reality you did not. For example, if you took your friend’s car with the honest but mistaken belief that he was lending it to you, even though he was not. In order to raise this defence, you will need to establish a factual basis to show that you honestly and reasonably believed in this particular state of affairs.

The Crown is required to prove that you not only took property that was not lawfully yours, but that you intended to take that property. While the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offence, you may bear some responsibility in raising certain defences at trial.

The availability and strength of any defence depends entirely on the specific facts of your case. Our lawyers have significant experience assessing the availability and strengths of various potential defences in theft cases, and presenting any and all available defences to the Court at trial. Even if you believe that you will be found guilty, it is important that you obtain a legal opinion about defences that may be available to you.

How can I help defend theft charges in Calgary?

If you have been charged with theft in Calgary, the following can help your lawyer build a strong defence:

  • Providing your lawyer with a detailed statement about what happened;
  • Collecting and maintaining all documents and records about the event;
  • Gathering a list of witnesses that may support your version of events, if applicable; and
  • Logging any relevant texts, emails, phone calls or photographic evidence.

What information is relevant will depend on the facts in your case. As soon as you are released on bail, you should start to gather any information that may be of use to your lawyer. If you are uncertain what information may be relevant, you should contact one of our lawyers immediately to create a plan of action for gathering information.

If you are truly proactive about the matter, consider doing the following:

  • Secure proof of employment;
  • Secure reference letters;
  • Enroll in counselling (anger management/substance abuse/parenting);
  • Secure a record of prescriptions; and
  • Secure a record of any mental health conditions you suffer from.

These steps can be very helpful to building an effective defence (or convincing the prosecutor to drop the charges altogether).

What can a lawyer do to help me defend against theft charges in Calgary?

As we start preparing your defence by examining police actions and the evidence against you, there are certain defence strategies that can be used to aid your cause. Some of these include:

  • Assembling documents, photographs, texts, etc. that contradict the allegation and support your defence.
  • Gathering evidence from witnesses that support your version of events.
  • Identifying mistakes in the actions of the police, such as Charter breaches.
  • Uncovering administrative/systemic errors, such as with “Jordan delay”, non-disclosure, lost or destroyed evidence, etc.
  • Finding weaknesses or “holes” in the Crown’s case that may make it difficult or impossible for them to establish the elements of the offence.

What Next?

As discussed, theft cases cover a vast amount of ground and are very fact-specific.

We have tried our best to provide a general outline of what you can expect if you find yourself in this situation. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

To learn more about how we can help, please contact our team of Theft Lawyers to conduct a thorough review of your situation so that we can tailor a precise strategy for a successful defence of your case.

Get A Free Consultation

Receive a free consultation to discuss your case.

We value your privacy, all information is kept strictly confidential.


Jonathon Himann
Jonathon Himann
20:19 13 Jul 20
I have nothing but praise for Oykhman. Their customer service was top notch. Joseph Beller was able to phone me back... within minutes of me leaving a message on their machine. He explained the possible consequences and calmed me down mightily. The whole conversation was extremely professional, from the receptionist to the email follow up. I would have no hesitation recommending them.read more
Tianda Praud
Tianda Praud
02:53 01 Jul 20
With the assistance of Elena Ryland, my charges have been withdrawn! Elena is compassionate and incredibly... understanding. Despite being charged during a pandemic, she made the whole process so simple. I strongly encourage anyone to retain Elena and trust in her and the rest of the team at Savage Oykhman!read more
Brittany Collins-Berthelot
Brittany Collins-Berthelot
14:43 26 Jun 20
Elaine was amazing from the start, she made me feel very comfortable and trusting of her. The staff was very... professional and caring. I would highly recommend Elaine to my family and friends.read more
Brendan Mcdonald
Brendan Mcdonald
16:15 16 Jun 20
I have had Mr. Oykhman represent me twice now and on both occasions the issues were fully resolved having all charges... withdrawn. His service is second to none. I know once Mr.Oykhman is retained that everything will be resolved and in a favorable way because he will take care of the issues at hand. I highly recommend Mr.Oykhman to anyone that wants a stress free encounter and piece of mind knowing their issues will be takin care of, and in the end the outcome will be favorable. I would never think of ever hiring another lawyerread more
Chey Panda
Chey Panda
21:27 28 May 20
I highly recommend Crystal McGraw's services as she is very professional, non-judgmental & reliable. Crystal will keep... you updated every step of the way & will work hard to get you a positive outcome for your case. Thank you for all your help!read more
Conrad Taupert
Conrad Taupert
15:08 28 May 20
Elena Ryland was compassionate and empathetic. She immediately validated my emotions and calmed me down.I found her to... be extremely motivated. She got all my charges dropped. I highly recommend her.read more
classified666 .
classified666 .
19:42 27 May 20
I Had an accident right before Christmas last year an ended up getting a handful of criminal charges. Michael an his... team worked hard an got all charges dropped including an impaired. I’m thankful for his effort an would highly recommend!read more
Mark Paolo Ramos
Mark Paolo Ramos
16:23 04 May 20
After months of dealing with Crystal Mcgraw, Ryan P and Amie I have nothing but utmost respect for their... professionalism and hardwork. I was dismissed from my case and now can breathe normally as I can get my life back to normal. I would definitely recommend these folks to take care of your cases and you will be satisfied with the work that they will put into your case.read more
Kevin Murphy
Kevin Murphy
00:35 24 Apr 20
Thanks to Ryan for doing a great job, and for providing a sense of support and professionalism. My charge was stayed,... which is about the best result I could have hoped for, and better than I expected. Thanks to Crystal as well for everything she did, and for delivering me only good news, and to Amie for the communications she provided. All around very happy with everything, hopefully I never require their services again. 😉read more
Craig Stange
Craig Stange
15:35 23 Apr 20
I am going through an extremely difficult divorce and my ex made a power move by making an allegation against me that... involved the police and the start of a three month investigation. Upon the advise of a former RCMP member who is a good friend I engaged the Services of Michael to help with the investigation phase and contact by the city police. His services in dealing with the investigation and guiding me through this is beyond value. I would highly recommend his team. I am pleased to report that with his guidance the matter was dropped before charges, money well invested. If you get contacted by police your first call should be to his office.read more
Daniel Araia
Daniel Araia
00:55 22 Apr 20
If anyone is looking for professional legal lawyer I’m hardly recommending to anyone to Michael Oykhman with his... team. Trust me you will get quality service with professionalism from Michael Oykhman and all his team. Thanks to you all for your time and commitment I’m totally satisfied with all your hard work keep doing good job guys cheers.read more
David Prosser
David Prosser
14:42 08 Mar 20
After two years of dealing with Greg Janzen on my charges I have nothing but the highest regard for the... professionalism, expert knowledge, guidance, and personal courtesy. I would highly recommend him to my closest friends and family. A great job well done. Thank you.read more
Haifaa Rofail
Haifaa Rofail
23:06 05 Mar 20
5 stars, Everything worked out very well, very timely in dealing with my matter. All responses fromGreg Janzen and his... assistant where professional and helpful. I would highly recommend him. A really good lawyer ! Very happy with my outcome. All my charges was withdrawn.read more
Josh Hawryluk
Josh Hawryluk
01:24 27 Feb 20
Very satisfied of the service I received getting off my charge. Looking for a criminal lawyer? Theses are the guys, I... did not have to appear in court, I only had to make one visit to the office, and the rest was all handled my by lawyer (Elaine). They did an awesome job for me and excellent customer service,read more
Marty Maksymetz
Marty Maksymetz
02:51 31 Jan 20
I highly recommend going with this team. From the moment that I stepped into their offices, I knew that I was in good... hands. I had the privilege of working with Elena Ryland as my attorney and I couldn't be happier. She was extremely professional and well-educated on the subject matter. She was able to negotiate a deal that favoured all parties involved.read more
jay xu
jay xu
01:06 29 Jan 20
Words cannot express my gratitude to Michael, he helped me out of a difficult situation and resolved the matter... unbelievably quick. Michael provided quick professional insight, and showed great compassion working to resolve my matter over the past year. The knowledge, experience, and compassion Michael is clearly the best in Calgary. Michael also has a vast network of grade A lawyers and recommended a fantastic criminal lawyer to help me with my case. I would highly recommend his services.read more
R G
R G
18:39 11 Dec 19
I got in touch with Michael Oykhman directly based on the complexity of the legal matters I was facing. He was... incredibly professional and gave me a great deal of confidence and knowledge that it would be handled to his best efforts. The results were exactly that, the best desired outcome and a huge weight taken off me during a dark time. I would highly recommend Michael and his team to anyone looking for the best outcome possible!read more
Jessica Rafuse
Jessica Rafuse
22:50 15 Nov 19
I was first able to speak to Michael Oykhman himself and felt understood and confident that his staff would take care... of my legal matters. I am happy to report that not only have my matters been resolved but they were exactly in line with my desired outcome. I never felt like I had to compromise my position regarding the events that lead to needing legal services. While my initial junior associate couldn't oversee my file to completion, my gratitude goes to Greg Janzen who took on my case midway through and advocated for me and saw my charges withdrawn in a timely matter. Greg went the extra mile to show up for my appearances even when they were outside the initial legal matter at hand, which surprised me and made my life so much easier. I was out of province for 5 months of the year and thanks to Greg was able to focus on my priorities instead of being limited and interrupted. If your considering a lawyer or in doubt about the value of legal services, do yourself a favor and consult this firm. While there are many names to consider, if you find yourself needing criminal defense lawyers, I am so thankful I made the decision to have this firm represent me.They have been supportive, understanding and expedient. I also saved money and appreciated that I wasn't hit with hidden fees and wasn't footing a bill that was inflated or unwarranted. You definitely get great value! I also super appreciated the face time and timely communication at each turn. Not only were my charges withdrawn but so too were my fingerprints and photos with police destroyed so it's like nothing ever happened. A dream come true. Excellent customer service from start to finish on top of the legal support! Thank-you all so much, and while I hope not to need you in the future, I know I will be in good hands and will refer anyone in similar circumstances to your firm in the future. Cheers!read more
Next Reviews


Glowing Reviews From Our Clients

Excellent service! I would highly recommend going with this team. If I ever need assistance with anything of this manner again, I wouldn’t hesitate to call or email the team at Oykhman Criminal Defence again.


M.M.

Everyone was very professional and understanding. They explained everything and put me at ease. Any question I had were answered right. If you need help I’d highly recommend this law firm.


B.L.

VIEW ALL REVIEWS
VIEW REVIEWS ON GOOGLE

Disclaimer: All results of cases handled by the lawyer/firm are not provided. The results provided are not necessarily representative of results obtained by the lawyer/firm or of the experience of all clients or others with the lawyer/firm. Every case is different, and each client’s case must be evaluated and handled on its own merits.

Schedule a free no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.

Book A Free Consultation