Theft under $5000 & Charges
What to Do When Charged with Theft Under $5000 in Calgary, Alberta
Charges of this sort of theft are common; roughly 50,00 people in Canada are charged with theft under $5000 each year. Thefts at this level can include shoplifting, other types of retail theft, theft from an employer or other situations.
However, a charge of theft, even if it is for cash or goods under $5000, must be taken seriously. It is vital that you prepare a strong defence to ensure that you get the best possible outcome under the law. As specialists in criminal law, we can ensure that you mount a good defence to minimize potential negative outcomes.
What are the possible penalties for theft under $5000?
Theft under $5000 is considered a hybrid offence; depending on the severity of the crime and other factors, it can be an indictable or summary conviction offence. Canada's Criminal Code allows for a punishment of up to two years in prison for those found guilty of theft under $5000. If the Crown allows for a summary conviction, a fine of up to $5000, six months in jail, or both, is possible. You will also most likely have an entry on your criminal record if you are convicted.
What if it's my first offence?
The Crown is more likely to be lenient with someone if it is their first offence and the offence is minor. For instance, a minor theft from a local store may be treated differently than theft from the cash register at your job. Depending on the details of your case, we may be able to help you attain a minimal punishment, such as community service. Because of the range of potential legal outcomes, the assistance of a qualified criminal lawyer is imperative.
Does it matter if I returned the stolen merchandise?
Returning stolen merchandise or paying someone back money that was stolen does not cause an automatic dropping of criminal charges. Once the process has begun, it is out of the hands of the individuals personally involved. However, making an offer to repay what was taken can be a useful mitigating factor that can lead to either a lesser offence or charges being dropped altogether.
The most important step you can take is seeking legal counsel so that you are aware of the possible outcomes of all of your options. At Dunn & Associates, we will work with you to ensure that you are treated fairly under the law. Are you or someone you love facing theft charges in Alberta? Get in touch today. The sooner we can assist with your case, the better we can protect your rights and your freedom.