Across Canada people accused of petty crimes such as shoplifting, petty assault and fraud are roaming around at large. The Canadian justice system is struggling to deal with only serious crimes.
The President of the Canadian Crown Bar Association said that cases of less serious crimes were either fully closed or referred to restorative justice programs. He called it commonplace, although the official did not give specific figures.
There are many consequences of being charged with shoplifting, which are not immediately obvious to those, who are not familiar with the law.
Shoplifting in Canada: basics
· Shoplifting is a criminal offence
· If you have no previous criminal record, you might deal with diversion (the court will not sentence you, but you will be assigned community works or letters of apology.)
· For the first shoplifting offence, the judge could give you a discharge, you can also ask the judge for discharge only for petty theft and if you are sorry, it will help you avoid criminal charges and related consequences: a ban on travel outside the country, a ban on working in certain positions, etc.
Shoplifting laws in Canada
For example, individuals may be prohibited from being in certain premises under the regulation about the unauthorized access to property, or they may be issued with letters of claim from lawyers requesting civil damages. Other consequences may include civil suits, job loss and even imprisonment.
Before addressing any of these issues, it is advisable to consult an experienced lawyer and get his advice on the best approach to resolve charges of theft or fraud.
An experienced lawyer can assist you with a criminal theft charge as well as other consequences that may result from the indictment. In addition to valuable legal advice, a counsel may also make every effort to contact the accusing police forces to remove criminal records and fingerprints if charges are withdrawn or the person is found not guilty of the offence.
Ontario shoplifting laws
A lot of people who are under the false impression that a first time shoplifting charge is “no big deal” receive a rude awakening when it shows up on a background check by an employer or customs. Just simply being charged can limit a person’s employment, travel, and future career opportunities.
In Toronto, the price of the merchandise that has been shoplifted affects the nature of the conviction. If you steal less, you may be charged with "petty theft of less than $5,000." Usually, if this is your first violation, the short-term effects are small. There is a fine, probation or short prison terms, if you had similar crimes on the criminal record before.
Shoplifting in Ontario remains a problem because many people were made believe that shoplifting is not a kind of offence that can ruin your life, but in fact it can affect your decent future pretty much.
Common sentences for shoplifting
However, usually the penalty for shoplifting in Canada is a small fine and probation period or full or conditional release. In some areas, the prosecutor may offer you an alternative to community service and will make you pay to the victim. You might pay a surcharge – 30 % of the total fine the judge charged for you. If a person is convicted under summary justice, it provisions a maximum penalty of $5,000 or two years' imprisonment, or both.
If the prosecutor decides to treat the crime as a serious offence and brings charges, in this case the sentence may be much harsher. Theft of more than $5,000 is a serious offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison.