Montreal Property Offences Lawyer
What Is Theft?
Theft is the taking of property that does not belong to you with the intention of depriving its true owner of said property. It is not uncommon for a charge of theft to be accompanied by a charge of possession of property obtained by crime.
What Other Property Offences Are There?
There are all sorts of other property offences that the Criminal Code explicitly prohibits, like: robbery, breaking and entering, motor vehicle theft, possession of property obtained by crime, mischief, and criminal trespassing. Additionally, the crime of theft is divided into two distinct categories: Theft over $5,000 and Theft under $5,000.
What Happens If Convicted Of Shoplifting?
It’s very common for those facing charges of theft under $5,000 (which typically takes the form of shoplifting) to be charged by way of summary conviction instead of by indictment. Additionally, these charges can be dealt with through the non-judicial treatment program or a diversion program. Should the matter be authorized to proceed through criminal court, it is not uncommon to receive a discharge (whereby you plead guilty but avoid a criminal record).
What Defences Are Available For Theft?
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.
I’ve Been Charged With Theft - Now What?
If you’ve been charged with theft, it is absolutely vital that you exercise your right to counsel immediately. You should further invoke your right to remain silent. Generally speaking, if you have a good recollection about the events in question, it is usually a good idea that you write down your version of events, especially take note of:
- Potential witnesses
- The words that were exchanged between you the complainant and/or the arresting officer
- At what point you were afforded your right to counsel
It is also a good idea to keep ahold of any receipts that you may have that prove ownership.
If you’re being investigated for a property offence, have been criminal charged or just have questions about your rights and obligations under the law, contact S. Zalman Haouzi Avocat today for a consultation!