Shoplifting is attempting to take something from a store without paying for it. In Canadian law it is an offence of theft or attempted theft under the Criminal Code of Canada. Intentionally taking or attempting to take something from a store without paying for it is an offence normally prosecuted as a summary offence in Provincial Court.
Although there are many defences to a shoplifting charge, most theft-under $5000 cases are resolved without a trial. Most stores in British Columbia have a policy to arrest or detain and prosecute all shoplifters. Stores with full-time security and loss prevention programs, such as The Bay, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Winners, Sears, Save-On Foods, Sephora, Old Navy, and Aritzia detain all suspected shoplifters for police attendance. The police then notify the suspect of their court date.
Shoplifting is considered a crime of dishonesty and therefore it can damage your reputation and career. It is imperative to avoid a conviction for theft under, particularly when it is a first offence. Crimes of dishonesty are especially stigmatizing and embarrassing as your character and credibility are diminished by a criminal record for theft.
The Court Process
If the Crown decides to proceed with charges, you may be required to attend court and begin dealing with the charge. The police may require that an accused attend to a police detachment for fingerprinting.
Shoplifting is one of the less complex and more common offences in Canada. Many people with no criminal history sometimes find themselves before the court dealing with a shoplifting charge. The experience can be very stressful and difficult to navigate.
However, a criminal defence lawyer can be retained to have discussions with Crown Counsel and reduce the likelihood of charges being laid. If the charge does proceed to court, often we can ensure that the charge is withdrawn upon the completion of certain conditions, leaving you with no criminal record.
We work to reduce the stress for our clients so that they can focus on their daily lives. Whether your charges originate in Vancouver, Richmond, Victoria, Surrey, or anywhere else in BC, we make all court appearances and deal with the day to day matters on your behalf. Often, if the charge is withdrawn you will not be required to attend court at all.
If you live in Vancouver, please call 604-685-8889 to discuss your case with one of our lawyers.
If you live in Richmond, New Westminster or Ladner, please call our Richmond law office at 604-370-3050.
For cases in Surrey and Delta, please call our Surrey location at 604-593-8580.
If you live in Victoria or anywhere on Vancouver Island, please call 250-384-0100 for our Victoria law office.
For all other locations in BC, please call our toll-free number 1-877-685-1818.