As criminal lawyers, we can answer your questions about shoplifting and help you deal with a shoplifting charge. Shoplifting is a serious charge which can have a profound, negative impact on your life. A form of theft, shoplifting is a Criminal Code offence that can result in a criminal record. Often impulsive, sometimes compulsive, shoplifting is fairly common and is often committed by otherwise law-abiding individuals.
Shoplifting charges fall under section 322 of the Criminal Code. A shoplifting charge is technically referred to as “Theft” and is charged as being either “Theft Under $5,000” if the good allegedly stolen is valued at under $5,000 or “Theft Over $5,000” if the good allegedly stolen is valued at over $5,000.
Section 334 of the Criminal Code outlines the penalties for shoplifting. A “theft under” type shoplifting charge is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine if the Crown lawyer chooses to proceed summarily (a less serious offence) or up to 2 years in jail if the Crown lawyer proceeds by indictment (a more serious offence).
For “theft over” type shoplifting offences, the accused is liable to up to 10 years in jail.
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Most individuals are charged with “theft under” $5,000. For the majority of “theft under” shoplifting cases the Crown proceeds summarily. In such cases if an individual has no prior related criminal record and is found guilty jail is very rare.
Theft from an employer is considered far more serious than shoplifting. The reason the Courts and Crown lawyers treat these cases differently is due to the breach of trust that is committed by the employee. In fact, Crown lawyers usually seek a jail sentence even for first time offenders, depending on the nature and severity of the allegation.
If you have been charged with theft, please contact legal counsel for a consultation to discuss your case. Our team of experienced and dedicated criminal lawyers regularly defend against shoplifting charges in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, throughout the Lower Mainland and the entire province of British Columbia.