Theft charges are either classified as Theft Under $5000 or Theft Over $5000, depending on the value of the amount alleged to have been stolen.  It is considered a “property offence” and it is not uncommon for an accused person to have multiple counts of theft alleged if the conduct accused of took place over a certain period of time.  Theft charges usually involve retail theft, including shoplifting and price-switching, breach of trust situations involving employers, and large scale thefts involving vehicles or construction equipment.  These charges may sometimes be laid along with fraud charges.  Depending on the circumstances of your case, your theft charge may be difficult for the Crown prosecutor to prove, or your constitutional Charter rights may have been violated during your arrest.  As in all criminal cases, entering a plea of guilty to a fraud charge can have profoundly serious consequences.  Having a criminal record may effect your work, your immigration status, your reputation, your family and your personal freedom.

If you are facing a charge of Theft in Toronto, Oshawa, Newmarket, Brampton, or throughout Southern Ontario, the Law Office of Norm Stanford can help.  Call the office at 416.420.6107.  Consultations are always free.

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What is the possible penalty for Theft Over $5000?

Under the Criminal Code of Canada,  Section cc. 322.(1), every one who is found guilty of Theft Over $5000 is guilty of an indictable offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to ten years.

What is the possible penalty for Theft Under $5000?

Under the Criminal Code of Canada,  Section cc. 322., every one who is found guilty of Fraud Under $5000 is guilty of an indictable offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to two years, or in less serious cases, by an offence punishable on summary conviction.

How can I be guilty of theft if I gave the merchandise back?

Once a charge of Theft has been laid, you are “in the system” and your criminal matter will proceed.  Paying back whatever money is alleged to have been defrauded will not result in any automatic dropping of the charges.  The matter is in the hands of the Crown prosecutor.  An offer to pay back the money or value of the property in certain situations may be useful as a mitigating factor and result in a lower penalty.  In certain situations where the case against you is not very strong, your lawyer may be able to use an offer to pay back money or return property as a bargaining tool that may result in charges against you being dropped.

Are there defences to theft?

As with most criminal charges, you may have certain defences available to you depending on the circumstances of your charge.  You will need to explain what happened to your lawyer to determine if any of these defences are available. More information on Defences to Theft is available at Every Defence.

What do I do if I’ve been charged with theft?

Call the office for a free consultation.  The most important issues that you will discuss are:

  • Are you a Canadian citizen?
  • What are the circumstances of the charges?
  • What is the value of the alleged theft?
  • Did you make any statements to the police or sign any papers?
  • The strength of the case against you
  • Were there any witnesses to the alleged incident?
  • What are your main goals — beating the charge, not going to jail, not having a criminal record?

The Law Office of Norm Stanford handles Theft under $5000 and Theft over $5000 cases throughout Ontario and will help you get through this at a cost you can afford.  Consultations are always free.  (416) 420-6107.