While shoplifting offences are clearly at the low end of the criminal law spectrum, they are often the only encounter the average Canadian ever has with our criminal justice system. These types of offences can be intensely embarrassing and are often a symptom of other difficulties in an individual’s life. While many people choose to handle cases of this nature on their own, at Bytensky Shikhman we have developed a niche area to assist those individuals who view the cost of professional legal counsel a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that they have skilled and compassionate representation during this difficult time.
Bytensky Shikhman Criminal Lawyers have an extraordinary success rate securing diversion for people charged with shoplifting – even if they have been previously charged with the same offence. If approved, diversion will see your charges removed from the criminal justice system in exchange for some combination of a charitable donation, counselling, program attendance, or letter of apology. Shoplifting often has its roots not in financial need but in an underlying psychological issue. Our lawyers can help you access programs and psychologists who can get to the root of the problem ensuring not only a successful court outcome, but a better life in the future.
In addition to the criminal court troubles that come along with any shoplifting charges, many retailers seek payment for perceived losses or damages in the form of civil recovery. Learn more about your rights when you receive a demand letter for civil recovery.
Mischief is an offence that occurs where an individual willfully:
Mischief also includes the wilful destruction of computer data or interference with its use.
Typically, mischief is at the low end of the criminal spectrum. The majority of mischief cases involve property damage valued at less than $5000 and attract relatively minor sentences, if any. Mischief charges are considered more serious where:
Mischief is most serious where it endangers human life. An individual accused of mischief endangering life is liable to life imprisonment.
The penalties for theft depend on the value of the money or property stolen.
Where the value of the money or property stolen is less than $5000, individuals can be sentenced to a maximum of two years in custody where the Crown proceeds by indictment, or a maximum of six months in custody where the Crown proceeds summarily.
Where the value of the money or property stolen is more than $5000, individuals can be sentenced to a maximum of ten years in custody where the Crown proceeds by indictment, or a maximum of six months in custody where the Crown proceeds summarily.
Diversion is a program that is available for individuals charged with relatively minor offences. Diversion is typically offered through community-based agencies such as Sound Times and Fred Victor. If you are approved for diversion you will be required to complete ‘upfront work’ in exchange for your charges being withdrawn. The upfront work can include an apology letter, a charitable donation, volunteer hours, mental health or other counselling. Although it is ultimately the Crown who decides whether to offer diversion, an experienced criminal defence lawyer will work to persuade the Crown to do so.
Restitution is where an offender pays the victim of the offence to compensate the victim for the loss suffered because of the offence. Restitution is sometimes paid ‘upfront’ in exchange for charges being withdrawn or a reduction in what would otherwise be the offender’s sentence. A judge may also order restitution as part of a probation order or as a stand-alone order on sentencing.
Shoplifting charges are typically considered to be non-serious charges. For most individuals, it is highly unlikely that a conviction for shoplifting would result in a jail sentence, however convictions for even the most minor charges can impact a person’s immigration status and their ability to work and travel.
Yes, if you knew or were recklessly blind as to whether the items were stolen. Under s. 354(1) of the Criminal Code it is an offence for anyone to possess any property knowing that part of or all of the property was obtained directly or indirectly from an offence. This is called possession of property obtained by crime and it can result in a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment if the property is worth more than $5000, or a maximum sentence of two years if the property is valued at less than $5000.
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