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Theft Lawyer In Toronto

Mississauga, Brampton and Newmarket Theft Offence Lawyer

Commonly Asked Questions

1. What is theft under $5,000.00?

2. What is the sentence for theft under $5,000.00?

3. What is theft over $5,000.00?

4. What is the sentence for theft over $5,000.00?

5. Do charges of theft always result in a trial?

6. What is the defence for theft?

7. What is an order of restitution?

8. If I am in a store with someone else who decides to steal, am I also responsible?

9. What are my Charter rights?

10. Can the Charter help my defence?

11. Can I get assistance from Legal Aid Ontario for my case?

What is the offence of theft?

Section 322 of the Criminal Code of Canada, in part, provides as follows:

  • 322 (1) Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes, or fraudulently and without colour of right converts to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent
    • (a) to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it, or a person who has a special property or interest in it, of the thing or of his property or interest in it;
    • (b) to pledge it or deposit it as security;
    • (c) to part with it under a condition with respect to its return that the person who parts with it may be unable to perform; or
    • (d) to deal with it in such a manner that it cannot be restored in the condition in which it was at the time it was taken or converted.
  • (2) A person commits theft when, with intent to steal anything, he moves it or causes it to move or to be moved, or begins to cause it to become movable.
  • (3) A taking or conversion of anything may be fraudulent notwithstanding that it is effected without secrecy or attempt at concealment.

Call Defence Lawyer Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation

Contact my Toronto, Ontario, office today to discuss your theft case. I offer a free 30-minute consultation. For your convenience, I offer reasonable payment plans. I also accept Legal Aid in most cases. You can reach me by phone at (416) 651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164 or by e-mail.

What is the sentence for theft?

Section 334 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides as follows:

  • 334 Except where otherwise provided by law, every one who commits theft
    • (a) if the property stolen is a testamentary instrument or the value of what is stolen is more than $5,000, is guilty of
      • (i) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years, or
      • (ii) an offence punishable on summary conviction; or
    • (b) if the value of what is stolen is not more than $5,000, is guilty
      • (i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
      • (ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

There are two categories of theft offences:

  • Theft over $5,000: A conviction for stealing items worth more than $5,000 could result in 10 years of imprisonment. This is also classified as an indictable offence, which makes it harder to obtain a criminal record suspension.
  • Theft under $5,000: This offence can be prosecuted either as an indictable or as a summary conviction offence. The Crown prosecutor decides how to proceed. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, the maximum penalty is two years of imprisonment. If the Crown proceeds summarily, the penalty may be a maximum of six months of imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both

What is the Offence of Taking a Motor Vehicle Without the Owner's Consent?

The offence of taking a motor vehicle without the owner's consent is an offence that used to be referred to as "joy riding". It is an offence that falls short of theft and requires only the intent to take a motor vehicle for the purpose of using it without the owner's consent. For this reason, the offence is only an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Section 335 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides, in part, as follows:

  • 335 (1) Subject to subsection (1.1), every one who, without the consent of the owner, takes a motor vehicle or vessel with intent to drive, use, navigate or operate it or cause it to be driven, used, navigated or operated, or is an occupant of a motor vehicle or vessel knowing that it was taken without the consent of the owner, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
    • (1.1) Subsection (1) does not apply to an occupant of a motor vehicle or vessel who, on becoming aware that it was taken without the consent of the owner, attempted to leave the motor vehicle or vessel, to the extent that it was feasible to do so, or actually left the motor vehicle or vessel.
  • (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), vessel has the same meaning as in section 320.11.

Will a charge of theft always result in a trial?

If you are charged with theft under $5,000.00, your case may not have to proceed to trial depending upon the actual value of the item involved. If, for example, the value of the item is $100.00 or less, you may qualify for participation in what is commonly referred to as a Diversion Program. This will allow you to make amends without proceeding to trial. The Crown may agree to allow you to make a monetary contribution to a charitable organization or allow you to complete community service hours in exchange for the charge against you being withdrawn. This type of resolution requires negotiation with the Crown prosecutor.

What is a Restitution Order?

A Restitution Order is a court order requiring the accused to pay money to the complainant to compensate the complainant for his or her loss or requiring the accused to return a stolen item to the complainant.

There are 2 types of Restitution Orders, a Restitution Order that is a term and condition of probation and a "free standing" Restitution Order which is not connected to a probation order.

Failure to comply with a Restitution Order that is a term and condition of probation may result in a criminal charge of failing to comply with probation.

A "free standing" Restitution Order is not connected to a probation order and may be enforced by the complainant in the same manner as a civil judgment is enforced.

A probation order is a court order requiring an accused to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of no longer than 3 years while abiding by various conditions itemized by the court, for example, not attending at the complainant's place of business or home and not having contact directly or indirectly with the complainant.

What if the charge against me is not a straightforward theft?

I have experience representing clients with respect to different types of theft-related offences, including:

DNA and Other Forensic Evidence

Forensic evidence, such as DNA evidence, is just one type of evidence that the Crown can try to introduce against a person accused of a crime. The defence can challenge the admissibility of forensic evidence on the basis of relevance, prejudice or that there is a lack of a sufficient scientific foundation to make the evidence reliable and worthy of being admitted, in other words, the forensic evidence is inadmissible because it is based on "junk science".

Over the years, there have been several types of forensic evidence that have been rejected by the courts in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Canada, including voice print identification, comparative bullet lead analysis and several indicators of arson dependent on visual cues.

Likewise, there are various other types of forensic evidence which are possibly unreliable, such as microscopic hair comparison, and "pattern comparison" evidence such as bite marks, tire marks and handwriting.

Even in cases where the forensic evidence is ruled admissible, the defence can still try to weaken the impact of the evidence by arguing, for example, that the results of the forensic testing were the subject of "motivated perception". In other words, the scientist who did the testing interpreted the results so as to support his or her expectations or the expectations of the police or Crown prosecutors. The defence can argue, or call evidence to show, that the forensic examiner should have first tested the evidence blindly without knowing anything about the case in order to avoid a subconscious bias. Studies have shown that even the opinion of fingerprint analysts can be affected by the analysts' preconceived notions about the case. Also, there is always a risk of a false positive. Moreover, if the laboratory that completed the testing, such as the Centre of Forensic Sciences, is known to have made errors on occasion in the past, the defence can argue that the error rates should also be entered in evidence.

In appropriate cases, and where funds permit, the evidence can be re-tested by an independent laboratory for verification.

A good defence lawyer should know the weaknesses of specific scientific techniques or seek out an appropriate defence consulting expert to learn about and present evidence regarding those weaknesses.

Pre-Trial Charter Applications

Often, the best defence to a criminal charge involves a challenge to the investigation that resulted in the arrest of the accused or the collection of evidence against the accused. The police are not allowed to breach the rights that are guaranteed to the accused by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I will investigate any possible Charter breaches by carefully reviewing the Crown disclosure documents, including the documents used by the police to obtain search warrants for the home, car or other property of the accused, and the documents used by the police to obtain production orders, such as for cell phone records and wiretap authorizations.

If I detect any violation of the Charter rights of the accused or violation of acceptable investigative procedures established by the courts, I will proceed with an application asking for the exclusion of evidence from the trial of the accused obtained illegally by the police, including the statements of the accused and other evidence seized during the investigation.

I have an established reputation for success in pre-trial applications. Winning a Charter application will result in the exclusion of evidence if the court determines that not excluding the evidence will bring the administration of justice into disrepute. The exclusion of evidence often results in a finding of not guilty if the Crown's remaining evidence is insufficient to prove that the accused committed the offence beyond a reasonable doubt.

I have the necessary experience, research skills, writing skills, and advocacy skills to prepare and effectively argue pre-trial Charter applications. The value of legal writing skills cannot be overstated since proceeding with pre-trial Charter applications will require the preparation of several documents including a Notice of Application, an Affidavit, and a Factum setting out the relevant facts and summarizing the relevant case law.

Call Defence Lawyer Anthony De Marco for a Free Consultation

Contact my Toronto, Ontario, office today to discuss your theft case. I offer a free 30-minute consultation. For your convenience, I offer reasonable payment plans. I also accept Legal Aid in most cases. You can reach me by phone at (416) 651-2299 or toll free at 1-888-399-3164 or by e-mail.

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