Shoplifting Penalties

Consequences of Shoplifting in Canadian Criminal Law

Penalties for Shoplifting

Shoplifting penalties can dramatically affect your life.  Even minor offences are subject to the following shoplifting penalties:

Although the incident may have seemed minor, and just a mistake, the impact of a conviction for shoplifting can dramatically affect your life.

Shoplifting Penalties: Summary vs Indictable Offences

In Canada, criminal offences are classified as either summary or indictable offences.

Summary offences: are considered less serious than indictable offences and are tried in a provincial court without a jury. Summary offences are typically punishable by a maximum of six months in jail, a fine of up to $5000, or both.

Indictable offences: are more serious than summary offences and carry harsher penalties. Indictable offences are typically tried in a superior court and can be punishable by more than two years in jail. Some indictable offences, such as murder, are punishable by life imprisonment.

The penalties for a shoplifting conviction may vary depending on the value of the property taken, whether the offence is classified as a summary or indictable offence and the circumstances of what occured.

Penalties of a Shoplifting Conviction

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Criminal Records: One of the most serious penalties of shoplifting is the consequences of a record. A criminal record creates permanent record of your conviction. This semi-hidden shoplifting penalty will have far-reaching implications for your employment, travel, and relationships.

Employment: A criminal record can make it difficult to find employment, especially in certain industries or professions. Employers may conduct record checks as part of the hiring process, and a record can be a barrier to employment. A record may also prohibit entry into many professions such as: Law, Accountants, Real Estate professionals, Professions requiring being bonded.

Travel Restrictions: A record can also make it difficult to travel internationally. Some countries may require a record check as part of the immigration process, and a record can result in a denial of entry. It’s important to consult with a lawyer if you have concerns about international travel.

Personal & Business Relationships: The penalties for shoplifting can also affect your personal relationships. It can impact your ability to rent an apartment or obtain a loan, and it can also affect your reputation in your community. It’s important to be open and honest with friends and family about your record and to take steps to rebuild trust and relationships.

Immigration & Citizenship: Where you are seeking immigration or applying for citizenship, the government will consider any record and conviction as a huge issue.  The Canadian government does not want to accept people into the country who are going to engage in criminal activities.  Where one member of a family has been involved in criminal activities, it can affect the whole family’s application.

Immigration issues should be taken very seriously as criminal records can result in deportations. Those facing criminal charges with immigration and citizenship concerns should not appear in criminal court without the benefit of a lawyer versed in shoplifting defence.

Steps to Protect Your Future

If you have been charged with shoplifting, it’s important to take steps to protect your future to avoid the debilitating consequences of a shoplifting penalty. This includes seeking legal advice and learning what your options are for avoiding a criminal record.

As shoplifting lawyers we have one goal, to get the charges dropped without a criminal record that will haunt you for years. One option for avoiding a criminal record is to negotiate a plea bargain with the Crown involving a discussion as to what penalty other than a criminal record maybe appropriate in exchange for avoiding a criminal record. Another option is to receive a discharge, which involves a finding of guilt but no criminal conviction. Discharges may be available for first-time offenders or those who meet certain criteria.

It’s also important to seek support and guidance from friends, family, and professionals, in regards to letters of recommendation, volunteering or good character. This may include therapy or counselling to address underlying issues such as addiction or financial hardship. Taking steps to address these issues can not only help you avoid future criminal charges but can also improve your overall quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Diversion?

Diversion maybe an option for shoplifting offered to the accused from the Crown Attorney’s office.

In a diversion the accused is offered the opportunity to complete a specific task like community service or counseling. If successful, the charges are normally withdrawn permanently.

The eligibility for diversion is based on factors such as any criminal record, the seriousness of the charge and the background of the accused. It can be an effective way to avoid a criminal record, but failure to complete the task can result in the reactivation of the charge and trial process.

It’s important to take the assigned task seriously and complete it within the given timeframe. As shoplifting lawyers during our legal services will will schedule a Crown pre-trial to review the case with Crown to see if this opportunity is available for your charge(s).

How long does a criminal record last?

The most debilitating penalty for shoplifting is the threat of a criminal record that can dramatically affect your life.

Once a criminal record has been applied it stays there for life.  Persons convicted of criminal offences like shoplifting can apply for a “record suspension” but only after a period of time has past and where they make application to do so.

Record Suspensions, (formerly called criminal pardons) typically take a year or more to process and there is usually a waiting period before you can apply. As well there may be costs involved to apply.

We always advise, better to avoid in the first place versus trying to fix later.

What determines what penalty I receive for shoplifting?

Once your case appears before a crown attorney they will review the case and the police officers disclosure (officer’s notes) about what happened.

The crown attorney in reviewing your case will look at many factors including:

  • What was taken and value
  • Who took it and why,
    • was it a simple mistake or was it planned
  • What happened during & after arrest
  • The background of the accused,
    • do they have previous convictions or warnings
    • age, financial background, what you do, do you do any volunteer work
    • what is your position in the community

The background of the accused, what happened and what was taken.  All of these factors will be reviewed by the crown prior to any discussion about the charges and any penalty for shoplifting.

Can't I just pay a fine and forget about it?

Although the prosecution and crown attorney assigned to your shoplifting charge may consider giving you a fine.  The really penalty to be worried about is a criminal record.  Criminal records have long term effects on your life.

Although any penalty may have a fine, as shoplifting lawyers our first priority is to ensure the criminal record threat is removed.

Discuss your case with a shoplifting lawyer | Call today

Being charged with a criminal offence is stressful, but you don’t have to face it alone. Call and speak with a shoplifting lawyer and learn how we can help you. We provide effective and affordable legal representation for all individuals facing these charges throughout Ontario.

Work with a lawyer experienced with theft under and shoplifting charges. Invest in your future by keeping your record clear. Yes you might be able to appear by yourself, but if something goes wrong, then what? Call today and let’s just talk about it.

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