Crimes and their subsequent punishments are separated by degrees.
Not all criminal acts should have the same level of penalties. Therefore, the Criminal Code of Canada purposely makes a point of appropriately evaluating the scope and nature of a crime.
For example, double parking is an illegal offence that is punishable by a fine, but it is not categorized as a crime. Conversely, driving while impaired by alcohol or a drug is considered to be a crime and repeated offences lead to penalties of increasing severity.
There is a large disparity between certain offences. For example, the court will treat a spontaneous quarrel at a bar that leads to an all-out fight differently than a premeditated assault with a weapon.
So, certain violations like trespassing or speeding, though considered illegal offences, are not deemed to be criminal acts and therefore do not result in a criminal record. Though the fines are costly, these violations will not negatively impact your ability to travel or find a job.
This premise does not apply to shoplifting.
If you are facing charges of theft, a criminal defence lawyer in Ontario will be able to provide counsel that may get your charges reduced or even dismissed.
The Effects of Shoplifting on Your Life
In Canada, shoplifting is maintained as a form of theft and will be judged as a crime.
Getting caught stealing an item of little value will not prevent shoplifting charges from being leveled against you. Stealing a trinket worth $30 can cost you up to $5,000 in fines, and that is if you are not imprisoned. Depending on the circumstances, the court could give you both a fine and prison time.
At the very least, you are going to be arrested and charged if the store or people you stole from make the decision to call the police to make a complaint. You will be required to have your fingerprints taken and entered into the court system, which means you could potentially have a permanent record in Canada’s criminal database.
If you plead guilty or are convicted at trial, that record will show a conviction that is viewable by employers, customs agents, and anyone else who conducts a criminal or police background check.
Even if you are not convicted, the charge of shoplifting, the arrest, and your fingerprints are still a matter of public record and available to anyone with the resources to find them.
Why is this important? For certain types of employment or specific activities such as travel, you will need to respond “yes” if asked whether you have ever been charged with a crime or arrested. If you were convicted, you are legally required to admit that there is a conviction on your record.
Charged with Theft? Hire the Best Criminal Defence Lawyers in Ontario
Contingent on the value of the stolen items in question, if you are caught shoplifting, you may face probation, large fines or time in prison. Even if you are a first-time offender, you could be given a fine and a criminal record that could significantly affect the lives of you and your family.
Do not take the risk by trying to represent yourself on any type of criminal charge, including shoplifting.
The lawyers at Kruse Law have earned a stellar reputation for their excellence defending all types of criminal matters since 1993. They have successfully provided valuable counsel for clients throughout Ontario.