Trespassing & Shoplifting

Trespassing: What is a Trespass Notice

What is Trespassing

Trespassing and the Trespass to Property Act is a provincial law, (not a criminal offence) in Ontario.

The trespass act governs the rights of property owners in relation to individuals who enter, remain or engage in prohibited activity on their property.

The act is designed to protect the interests of property owners and maintain their right to control their property. Owners of property are allowed by law to control who can enter their businesses. Under the trespassing act owners and their agents (security) can remove persons engaging in prohibited activities.

The Trespass to Property Act allows business and property owners to give notice, verbally or in writing that the person is not welcome on the property. Where that person ignores the notice they can be charged with trespassing.

What a Trespassing Notice Means

Persons arrested for shoplifting are considered to have engaged in prohibited activity. The prohibited activity, was stealing property from the store. A trespass notice is formal notice that the individual is not allowed to enter the premises.

Under this act, a person commits an offence where they:

  • enter onto property without permission,
  • refuse to leave after being asked to do so by the owner or authorized representative.
  • engage in prohibited activity while they are on the premises.

The act also makes it an offence to damage or interfere with the property of the owner.

The Trespass to Property Act allows the property owner or their agent (e.g. security officers) to give a person notice under the Trespass to Property Act.  The notice given is that the individual is prohibited from being on the property, from that date onwards.

Where a police officer finds the person trespassing, the officer may arrest that person, and charge them with trespassing.

Trespassing Property Act

Shoplifting & Trespass Notices

Every person who is not acting under a lawful right or authority conferred by law and who,

  • without the express permission of the occupier, the proof of which rests on the defendant,
  • enters on premises when entry is prohibited under this Act, or
  • engages in an activity on premises when the activity is prohibited under this Act; or
  • does not leave the premises immediately after he or she is directed to do so by the occupier of the premises or a person authorized by the occupier,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $10,000.

Authority for Property Owners:

Under the Trespass to Property Act, property owners have the right to control their property. This includes asking individuals to leave their property and to prevent individuals entering property without permission. Property owners also have the right to use reasonable force to remove individuals if necessary.

When Agents of Property Owners Can Make Arrests:

Under the Trespass to Property Act, agents of property owners are given the authority to make arrests for trespassing. An agent is defined as a person who is authorized by the owner of the property to act on their behalf. This can include security guards, property managers, or other individuals given the authority to represent the owner of the property.

Steps to Protect Your Future

If you are charged with a criminal offence, it is a serious matter. To avoid the severe consequences of having a criminal record for shoplifting, take action to protect your future.

As criminal lawyers, we often see people who represent themselves in court leaving with criminal records that could have been avoided. This puts not only themselves but also their families at risk.

The crown attorney’s role is to prosecute criminal cases brought to them by the police. They are not there to offer advice or assistance, and it is not their responsibility to be concerned about whether or not you receive a criminal record.

If you are charged with shoplifting or any other criminal offence, seek the help of one of our criminal defence lawyers. Our Ontario Shoplifting Lawyers offer quality legal defence at an affordable one-time fee.

As shoplifting lawyers, our primary goal is to get your shoplifting charges dropped without leaving you with a criminal record. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be arrested for trespassing?

Yes, if a police officer finds you at a premise and is made aware that you have been given notice under the trespass act the officer can arrest you.

Where a store security finds you on the premise they can arrest you and hold you until a police officer arrives.  The penalty for trespassing is a provincial offences ticket usually for under $100.

What do I do with a Trespass Notice?

Nothing.  The trespass notice is a formal notification that the person named in the notice is not allowed by provincial law to enter the premises.  You do not have to do anything with the notice, just do not enter the premises.

I don't agree with the security, can I dispute the notice?

There is no mechanism to dispute a trespass notice.

Where you are adamant about the notice your only option is to write to the store management and get them to rescind (take back) the notice.

Where a person is charged with trespassing, they can dispute the charge in provincial court.

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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