Charged with Theft: Our Lawyers Can Help You Avoid A Criminal Record 

Facing charges of shoplifting can be an incredibly emotional ordeal. From the moment of arrest, you realize you’ve made a major mistake, and many questions start running through your mind. Will you lose your job? Will this affect your chances of applying to university? How will this impact your immigration status?

Our team of Montreal-based criminal lawyers has handled a large number of shoplifting cases. Our approach to resolving these files is through plea bargaining and negotiation to help you avoid a criminal record. We will adopt a variety of strategies to assist first-time offenders who are facing theft charges. We work with you to establish a profile and explain the circumstances of the offence. In most cases, we are able to help you avoid a criminal record and even have the charges dropped. 

We know that this is an incredibly stressful and embarrassing time in your life, and we are committed to helping you navigate these charges to avoid the potential consequences of a criminal record.

What to Do if You Have Been Charged with Shoplifting

Exercise your right to Remain Silent

If you’ve been charged with theft, it is important to exercise your right to remain silent and avoid making any statements to the police. 

The role of law enforcement is to gather evidence, not to act as judge or jury. They provide information to the prosecutor to help them decide whether or not to authorize criminal charges. Therefore, it is important that you only discuss your case with your lawyer.

Respect Your Conditions

Upon arrest, you will likely receive a promise to appear that includes specific conditions. You must carefully read and respect these conditions. Failing to comply with your conditions can lead to further criminal charges against you and greatly complicate our ability to resolve your present file.

Although these conditions may be a source of stress, they can be modified either by consent of the Crown or through an application to Superior Court.

Speak To A Lawyer

You no doubt have a number of questions and are rightly concerned about your future. You need the guidance and support of experienced counsel who have repeatedly helped people just like you.

Contact us today to learn how we can guide you through this challenging time. We are fully prepared to take on your case!

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UNDERSTANDING PROPERTY OFFENCES

What is required to be found guilty of stealing?

Stealing is the taking of property that does not belong to you with the intention of depriving its true owner of said property. The most common type of theft is shoplifting. Theft is a specific intent offence, meaning that the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you stole the property with the intention of depriving the owner. In other words, if you believed that the property belonged to you or were simply absentminded and forgot to put an item back, that is not theft.

What is Robbery, and what are the consequences of a conviction?

Robbery involves the stealing of property with violence (or the threat of violence) before, during or after the theft. Robbery is taken more seriously than simple theft because of the presence of violence. It is taken especially seriously when a weapon is used. Robbery carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Also, it carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence when a firearm is used or if the offence is committed for the benefit of a criminal organization. While jail sentences are most common, depending on the facts of the case and the profile of the offender, there is a possibility to receive house arrest.

What happens if I’m found guilty of Shoplifting?

A conviction for shoplifting (and other property-related crimes) can impact your employment, ability to travel to the United States, or immigration status. However, there is good news. All sentencing options, including absolute discharges, are available. The sentence will depend on various factors, such as the offender’s profile, the value and nature of the stolen goods, and the presence or absence of premeditation. Since there are no mandatory minimum sentences for theft, first-time offenders have several options to avoid a criminal record.

What is our approach to resolving property offences?

We understand that mistakes happen, and there are often underlying reasons behind human behaviour. Our primary goal is to help you navigate these criminal charges from beginning to end. We strive to resolve shoplifting charges as quickly as possible through court-approved social programs, such as the Diversion Program or Programme Ève. Sometimes, we may even begin negotiations with the prosecutor before the charges have been authorized. If those options are not available, we will work with you to build a profile and make restitution, allowing us to negotiate for a discharge. This means you can plead guilty without a conviction being registered, ensuring you avoid having a criminal record. Our ultimate objective is to make your first encounter with the criminal justice system as stress-free as possible and work with you to ensure it is your last.

Facing criminal charges in Montreal or surrounding areas? Contact us now—we’re here to help!

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