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Two Types of Property Offences Are Theft and Shoplifting

Two of the more common criminal offences that come before the Crown prosecutors and courts are theft and shoplifting offences. Both of these offences involve one party taking another party’s property without their consent, or permission, as a means to deprive them of the use and/or enjoyment of the property. In addition, the accused normally benefits in some manner from the taking of the property.

What Is Property?

Property can be defined as anything of value owned or in the care of another, as well as money. When charged with a property offence, the Crown has to determine the monetary value of the stolen items and determine what sort of charges to bring against the accused. If the total monetary value of the property is under $5,000, then the accused is charged with “Theft under $5,000.” On the other hand, if the total value is $5,000 or more, then the accused is charged with “Theft over $5,000.”

What If the Owner Consents to Taking the Property?

In some cases, initially, the owner consents to letting the other person borrow the property with the understanding it will be returned in its current condition, sometime in the future. For instance, you ask to borrow your neighbor’s lawnmower to mow your yard. You return it afterwards and no theft has occurred. However, if you intended to never return the lawnmower and keep it, even after the neighbor has requested it be returned, or you give it away or sell it to someone else, you can be charged with theft.

Is a Toronto Criminal Lawyer Necessary for a Shoplifting Offence?

Even though shoplifting is a minor criminal offence, it is beneficial to retain the services of an experienced criminal defence lawyer in Toronto to represent your case. If you are convicted and found guilty of a shoplifting charge, you may have a criminal record, which can affect your ability to find and maintain employment. In some cases, travel restrictions are imposed and can prevent you from traveling abroad to foreign countries, including the United States. Most convictions for shoplifting also include some sort of fine.

Another reason to obtain assistance from a criminal defence lawyer is because your lawyer could be able to help you obtain a diversion to the shoplifting charges. Diversion is offered in many cities throughout Ontario and allows you the opportunity to perform a number of tasks. In return, once the tasks are completed, the Crown will recommend to the court the charges be withdrawn and nothing is recorded on your criminal record.

What Tasks Have to Be Completed for a Diversion Program?

The types of tasks you are required to complete can and do vary based upon the jurisdiction where the shoplifting offence is filed. The Crown could require you to complete a set number of community service hours, make a donation or volunteer your time to a charitable organization, or require you to complete an educational course on shoplifting and its consequences.

Keep in mind diversion is not necessarily always your best option. If diversion is offered by the Crown, it is best to discuss this option with your criminal lawyer to determine whether it is truly the best solution to the charges.

It is important to note the above content is provided for informative purposes only and should not be viewed as actual legal advice. If you, a loved one, or friend need legal advice about a theft offence, contact Jeff Hershberg, Toronto criminal defence lawyer at 416-428-7360 for a complimentary case evaluation and consultation appointment today.