Property offences include various crimes, as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada, such as robbery, possession of burglar tools, motor vehicle theft, breaking and entering, mischief, vandalism, shoplifting, theft, arson, and extortion, as well as variations of such crimes. The Crown must determine the exact nature of the crime and use specific guidelines to determine what charges to file against someone accused of property offences.
The basic definition of property offences is the taking of property from another with the sole intention of depriving the victim from using and enjoying their property to which the defendant does not have a legal claim or right to the property, with or without the use of direct or indirect threat of force or use of force. Property offences are further subdivided depending on whether property was merely stolen, damaged, or destroyed, as well as whether there was money involved.
In some cases, the Crown could seek multiple property offence charges or combine property offences with other criminal offences. For instance, you break into an electronics store and steal a large number of televisions and other electronic items. During the commission of the crime, you use force against a security guard and upon leaving the store you set it on fire. In this example, the crimes of robbery, possession of burglar tools, assault, and arson have been committed. Further, if the security guard dies from setting the store on fire, you are charged with either murder or manslaughter.
This is just one scenario and there is a wide range of property offences ranging from minor offences, like vandalism, to more serious crimes. Adults are not the only ones who can be charged with property offences. Youths, those under the age of 18, are also able to be charged with property offences.
The penalty for being found guilty of a property offence is based upon the type of offence, monetary value of the property, evidence the Crown has, and other such factors to determine an appropriate sentence. Sentencing guidelines used by the court can include fines, fees, court costs, community service, probation, and jail time. In the event another person is killed during the commission of a property offence, you could be facing life imprisonment.
Due to the nature of property offences, you need the best defence possible with help from a qualified and experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto. There are numerous ways to build a strong and strategic defence to property offences, no matter whether you are facing minor or more serious charges.