Theft Under $5000

Theft Under $5000 & Shoplifting

What is Theft Under $5000

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, theft is defined as taking something without permission and with the intention of permanently depriving the owner of it. Theft under $5000 is a criminal offence where an individual is accused of taking/stealing property that is valued at $5000 or less.

Theft under $5000 is a relatively common criminal charge in Ontario. There is no typical profile associated with theft under offenders as they come from all ages and backgrounds. Approximately half of all people charged have no previous criminal record. These first time offenders are often well educated with families, careers, and otherwise good reputations.

Facing the prospect of a criminal record and conviction, getting caught shoplifting can be a devastating and extremely stressful experience. The potential embarrassment and stigma attached to crimes of theft is significant and can damage a person’s reputation, career, and travel abilities.

Theft Under - Criminal Code of Canada s.322 (1)

Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes, or fraudulently and without colour of right converts to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent:

  • to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it, or a person who has a special property or interest in it, of the thing or of his property or interest in it;
  • to pledge it or deposit it as security;
  • to part with it under a condition with respect to its return that the person who parts with it may be unable to perform; or
  • to deal with it in such a manner that it cannot be restored in the condition in which it was at the time it was taken or converted.

Shoplifting is a form of theft under $5000 that occurs when an individual steals goods from a retail store. Shoplifting can take many forms, such as hiding items in clothing or bags, switching price tags, or leaving the store without paying for the item.

Theft Under $5000 Arrests

Theft Under - Possession of Stolen Property

Contact Ontario Shoplifting Lawyers

Where store security suspects an individual of theft under or shoplifting, they usually apprehend the accused after leaving the store.

The accused is taken to a security office and the police are called. When the police arrive, they will investigate what the security is alleging and either take the accused into custody or issue a Form 9 called an “Appearance Notice”.

The Appearance Notice is a summons to appear in criminal court for the criminal offence of theft under $5000. The summons includes a court date and a date for the shoplifter to attend the police station for fingerprinting and photographs under the Identification of Criminals Act.

In some jurisdictions, shoplifters are often charged with both theft under $5000 and possession of stolen property under Section 354 of the Criminal Code.

In situations where a price tag has been tampered with or manipulated, fraud under $5000 may also be laid. The charges that the police are accusing you of will be listed at the top of the Appearance Notice form.

Steps to Protect Your Future

Being charged with a criminal offence is a serious issue. Take the steps to protect your future to avoid the debilitating consequences of a criminal record for shoplifting.

As criminal lawyers we see unrepresented people leave court with criminal records, that could have been avoided.  Persons who appear unrepresented put themselves and family at jeopardy.

The crown attorney is to prosecute criminal matters brought before them by the police.  The crown attorney is not at court to help you, give you advice or assistance. Nor, is it the crown attorney’s job to worry about whether you receive a criminal record or not.

When when charged with shoplifting and any criminal offence, speak to one of our criminal defence lawyers. Find out the Ontario Shoplifting Lawyers provides quality legal defence that will help you at an affordable one time fee.

As shoplifting lawyers we have one goal, to drop your shoplifting charges without a criminal record.  Give us a call today, let’s discuss your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my friend appear in court for me?

No.  The release form that you agreed to requires that you appear in court, not a friend or relative.

Where the accused does not attend the court will issue a “Bench Warrant” for your arrest.  The bench warrant directs the police to apprehend you, take you to a police station and bring you before a judge forthwith.  Where there is no sitting court, persons arrested on warrants are held in custody (jail) until the next court sitting.

The police “may” release you on a summons to appear, which is again another notice requiring a court appearance.  Whether you are released at the police station will depend upon the discretion of the “officer in charge” and the circumstances of why you failed to appear in court.

The officers responding to the warrant for your arrest may also add an additional charge of “Failing to Appear for Court” which is dramatically worse than any shoplifting allegation.

I missed the court date. What should I do?

The notice that the police officer gave you is a commandment to appear in court.  The officer asked that you promise to appear and you agreed.

Where you do not appear in court, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest.

Where you realise that you have missed the court date either by error or otherwise we recommend that you appear at the police station where you were charged from.  Once there you surrender yourself to the officers and explain to them that you have missed a court date.

The officers will “re-arrest” for the offence of Fail to Appear under the Criminal Code of Canada.  The will take you into custody, process you and then bring you before a judge.  Depending upon the circumstances the judge will release you on a second promise to appear for court, or hold you in custody pending trial.

Where a person does not surrender themselves, the warrant is issued for across Canada to all security services and border officers and stays in effect under the accused is apprehended..

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.

The security was rough and abusive, can I complain?

Yes you can complain, and it may help your case, but you need to review these issues with our lawyers.

Although you can walk into the court and say the officer was rough with you, it won’t carry much weight with the judge.  In that situation, the judge may state that the officers actions are not the issue. Any complaint about officers should be taken up with the police or security management, not the court system.

The better time to discuss this is, having our shoplifting lawyers set up a pre-trial meeting with the crown attorney to discuss these issues together with the discussion about the charges, and your good character.  During this process, where the actions of the police and security may have been aggressive, it can help in negotiations to have your charges dismissed and dropped.

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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