The offence of Theft is a serious offence. If one is convicted of this offence they could be looking at jail time. If you have been charged with this offence, the best thing you can do at this point is to book an assessment with an experienced criminal lawyer. The criminal lawyer should review your case with you and provide you with an assessment. Each case is different, and therefore each case must be reviewed individually to access the strengths and weaknesses of the Crown’s case. Theft under $5000.00 is a charge that usually can be dealt with outside of the criminal realm.
Shoplifting and Theft Under – Simple Charges with not so Simple Consequences
In today’s world of technology it seems that people are always watching. The corporations are watching people online. The government is watching people from space and the police are watching people from the ‘eyes in the sky’. Nevertheless, people continue to fall to their own vices and try to beat the system by shoplifting. It happens more often that you think. Retailers have invested billions in counter-theft mechanisms, secret shoppers and surveillance.
The science behind it isn’t difficult to understand. We’ve all been there before: you’re in a store, it’s completely empty, you see a piece of clothing, a hat, or an electronic item, and think to yourself, I could just slip this in my pocket and no one would notice. It’s a false sense of security that 9 out of 10 times will lead you to a criminal court with charges of theft. Its a good thing that the majority of people do not succumb to their vices, others, however, for whatever reason they have going on in their lives, do not think as clearly, and make the wrong decision. These individuals deserve a second chance, as we are all humans, and we all are tempted by the same demons inside.
They caught me: now what?
Usually you are directed to a backroom by police, and you are searched and questioned. Information regarding your identity is recorded, and the police are notified. When the police arrive they will conduct a short investigation, determining what was stolen, the amount, and other circumstantial information. Hopefully the officers are kind enough to not hand-cuff you in front of passersby. Eventually the police will hand you a blue piece of paper and inform you that you will be charged with theft and must appear in court and also appear at the police station for photographs and fingerprints. Finally, after two or three hours of enduring this process, you’re released.
After your release, you may feel like a true hardened criminal: you feel like you’ve lost your good reputation, and this is the beginning of the end for you. However, it is very important to be calm, and realize that the worst is over – now you must look forward, and make the correct decisions on how to rebuild your life.
The first thing to know is that you should not return to the place where the offence took place, as this will clearly be written in the paper-work provided to you by the police. Second, make sure you follow your court-dates and fingerprint dates on the piece of blue paper called ‘Promise to Appear’. This blue slip is very important in that it sets out the date, time, and location of your required appearances for the identification process and for court. It is a very serious criminal offence to fail to attend court, which will make your matter much worst. The photographs and fingerprints are taken pursuant to the Identification of Criminals Act and typically they stay on file with the police indefinitely.
The charge you are facing is a criminal offence. Generally, in criminal proceedings, you have two choices — to plead “guilty” or “not guilty”. If you plead “guilty”, you will then be sentenced by the judge. If you plead “not guilty” you will go to trial with or without counsel present. In some cases a finding of “guilt” may warrant jail time, in some cases it won’t. This is entirely up to the judge presiding over the matter. With a stong defence counsel, you should be able to get a discharge of some sort and some community service hours. Regardless of the sentence, the vast majority of the time the accused will be looking at some sort of a criminal record.
In some instances, depending on the severity of the charges, it may be possible to negotiate with the Crown to have the charges withdrawn or stayed. This may be done through the completion of community service hours and or the completion of an anti-shoplifting program.
The criminal process can have a significant drag on an individual’s freedom, liberty, family, finances and personal life. No charge should be taken lightly. A criminal record could have the effect of preventing entry into foreign ports, and also making it difficult to secure employment. If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, do not hesitate to contact a criminal lawyer for advice on how to proceed. A good criminal lawyer will sit down with you, and lay out ALL your options including fighting the charge at trial and pleading guilty. Do not let fear drag you into pleading guilty – hiring a well-prepared and experienced lawyer will increase your chances of beating the criminal charges significantly. The Crown Attorney must prove every element of every offence, and in some cases, this is not an easy task. For that reason, in some trials, you may have a better chance at winning than others.
Impact Law is Toronto Based Litigation Law Firm, with lawyers focusing on Criminal Law Related Charges.
For a consultation please contact us below:
500 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 300,