Theft Charges In Canada And Their Common Defences

Theft Charges In Canada And Their Common Defences

Evidence Needed for a Conviction

The Crown Prosecutor must establish the following facts beyond a reasonable doubt to prove the criminal allegations against you:

  • You moved something that belonged to someone else, caused something to move, or tried to move it.
  • Without the owner’s permission, you transferred an item with the intent to steal it, either temporarily or permanently.
  • You attempted to steal something of a specific value.

You must have hope despite the existence of solid evidence supporting your theft accusations. There’s a chance that your theft lawyer in Toronto will be able to assist you in identifying the best defences to your charges, allowing you to avoid going to jail and keep your record clean.

Theft Under $5,000 Vs. Theft Over $5,000

According to the Canadian Criminal Code, theft under $5,000 and theft over $5,000 are the two common theft offences. Even though theft is a severe offence under Canadian criminal law, it is classified as a hybrid offence if it is less than $5,000.

The Crown has the option of charging you directly or through an indictment. The Crown will take your criminal charges seriously in either scenario. They’ll probably ask for a jail sentence if they decide to charge you through an indictment. However, if you receive a summary conviction for theft under $5,000, you might still spend up to six months in jail.

Penalties for theft over $5,000 are harsher. It is a specific indictable offence, and if you are found guilty, you might spend up to ten years behind bars.

Common Defences to Theft Charges in Canada

The best course of action when facing a theft prosecution in Canada is to speak with top criminal lawyers in Toronto who can analyze your case and craft the most robust possible defence. Your attorney may be able to use several typical guards to your theft allegations, including the following:

You Lacked Mental Intent and Mens Rea

One common defence to a theft prosecution is showing that you lacked the necessary mental intent to commit the crime. Even if you had taken the products in question, you might not have had the fraudulent purpose to be charged with theft, such as if you mistakenly left a store with the item without paying for it.

Colour Of Right

The phrase “colour of right” describes a situation in which you borrowed something from someone while thinking they were lending it to you. This could lead to the false assumption or comprehension that you had the exclusive right to use the stolen item when you did not. You might be forgiven if your counsel demonstrates that the details you thought were accurate.

Having Title To The Goods Under Consideration

Since theft means taking something that is not yours, you may contend that you have a proprietary interest in the allegedly taken items. You could still be charged with a theft offence even though you have possession rights to the stolen things if you obtained them illegally. For instance, you cannot excuse taking your car from an impound lot if it was legitimately towed and impounded and you failed to pay the requisite charge.

Mistaken Identity Concerns

If the video evidence supporting the theft charge against you is questionable or of poor quality, your attorney may be able to use identification concerns as a defence. You can claim that the authorities mistook you for a thief and that you are not the person depicted in the evidence.  However, you must present supporting evidence to show that you were not at the crime scene when the theft occurred to establish your innocence.

Even though law enforcement has substantial evidence to back up the theft accusations against you, you should not discount the importance of obtaining a defence attorney. A criminal case could be challenged in many different ways. If a lawyer is successful, they may be able to disprove your accusation and save you from going to jail.

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