Being accused of theft or fraud in St. Catharines endangers your freedom. The representation of a highly experienced criminal defence lawyer can protect your liberty and potentially avoid a detrimental criminal record. The Kruse Law Firm will explore every opportunity for winning your case or limiting sentencing penalties. We have successfully defended thousands of people accused of crimes.
The Criminal Code of Canada defines theft as taking or converting another person’s property to your own use without color of right. The Crown must be able to prove that the person intended to deprive the owner of the property permanently or even temporarily. Conversion occurs where a person knowingly or intentionally exerts control over property of another person without their permission or authority. Even an unsuccessful attempt at theft can result in a criminal charge.
The law makes a clear distinction between theft under $5,000 and theft over $5,000. The Crown strongly disapproves of all theft-related offences, but thefts under $5,000 allow the Crown prosecutor the discretion to choose to proceed summarily or by indictment. Assuming the Crown elects to proceed summarily, you have a better chance of avoiding harsh penalties.
Penalties for Theft Under $5,000:
- Discharge or conditional discharge
- Conditional sentence of house arrest
- A maximum prison term of 2 years
Penalties for Theft Over $5,000
The Crown will only treat a charge of theft over $5,000 as an indictable offence. For a theft over $5,000 charge, the accused has the right to elect to be tried by a judge alone in the Ontario Court of Justice, a judge alone in the Superior Court of Justice or by a judge and jury in the Superior Court of Justice. Sentences for theft over $5,000 can include prison terms of up to 10 years.
A judge in St. Catharines will consider many factors regarding both the offence and the offender when sentencing for theft charges including:
- The value of the goods stolen
- Number of thefts alleged
- Whether there was a breach a position of trust such as theft from an employer
- Any prior criminal history
Negative impacts of a theft charge
A criminal record arising from a theft conviction will negatively impact your future. You may very well be dismissed from your current job and have trouble finding subsequent employment. Anyone in your community who becomes aware of the conviction may develop a negative opinion of you that damages your social standing and creates long term stigma in your community.
Why You Should Retain Us
Even if strong evidence supports the theft charges against you in St. Catharines, you should not dismiss the value of hiring a defence lawyer. Many aspects of a criminal case could be subject to challenge. A lawyer may succeed in creating reasonable doubt about your charge and spare you from conviction.
Even if guilt appears clear, we can strive to negotiate to withdraw the charge or seek a lenient sentence. For minor theft charges such as shoplifting, we are often able to skillfully negotiate with the Crown and divert the matter out of the criminal justice system (i.e. “Direct Accountability Program” or Diversion) and have the charge withdrawn upon the completion of certain tasks such as restitution or counselling. Alternatively, we may be able secure an absolute or conditional discharge that allows you to avoid a criminal record and simply be placed on probation. Our legal strategies and efforts might avoid you receiving a lengthy jail term and result in probation or mere house arrest for more serious cases.
For over 30 years, Michael Kruse has defended the reputation and liberty of countless clients. As the founder of Kruse Law, he leads a team devoted to helping people get second chances. You will receive our dedication and personal attention and as we wage a potent defence against your accusers and negotiate with the Crown.
Charges of shoplifting, theft, embezzlement or fraud place you in a serious and perhaps life-altering situation. A strong legal defence can make a difference. Do not enter the criminal courts in St. Catharines without full knowledge of your defence options. Book a no cost and no obligation consultation with Kruse Law right now.
Kruse Law Firm operates out of our offices in Kitchener, London, Toronto, and Windsor to assist clients throughout Ontario.