Theft Under – Theft Over - Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

What is Theft?

Theft is stealing. It is taking anything that which is not yours. Money can be stolen, objects can be stolen, energy and telecommunications can be stolen, and even animals can be stolen. Something becomes stolen if it is moved, or caused to be moved, so as to deprive the lawful owner of its use and enjoyment. Theft has occurred even if the lawful owner was merely temporally deprived the use and enjoyment of something. Shoplifting is a common form of Theft.

Conviction and Sentencing for Theft?

The courts prosecute Theft more severely depending on whether or not the value of the stolen item(s) exceeds $5,000. Theft Over $5,000 is punishable up to 10 years jail, but Theft Under can also result in a jail sentence.  Sometimes the Crown Attorney’s office will offer diversion or direct accountability for a shoplifting charge.  Make sure you understand the ramifications of agreeing to this position before accepting their offer.  Theft of a Motor Vehicle, regardless of the value of the Motor Vehicle, may be prosecuted more severely.

Possession of Property Obtained by Crime

This offence often goes hand in hand with a Theft charge, but there are situations when you may be charged with Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.  It is a crime to knowingly have property (hot goods) that was obtained by illegal acts. You may be charged with Possession if you buy or accept any item that was stolen from someone else. Furthermore, you cannot sell any item that you know was stolen from someone else.

I’ve been charged with Theft; what should I do?

Keep your mouth shut. The only thing you should say to a police officer is that you want to speak with a lawyer. Do not say another word once you have asked to speak with a lawyer. These are your rights, and they are there to protect you.  You cannot lie to police, it is crime, but you can shut up!  Don’t let the police trick you – they are allowed to lie.  

Criminal Defence Lawyers

Theft is not necessarily as straightforward as you might think. I will review all of the evidence, go to court on your behalf, and prepare for trial or a plea resolution. You want a defence lawyer that knows the law and will fight for your constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure. I advocate to hold the police accountable if they have exceeded their investigative powers or have breached your constitutional rights.     

You may qualify for Legal Aid:  See Legal Aid Ontario Information.  

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