Possession of Stolen Property (PSP), Robbery, B&E, Home Invasion
It is an offence in Canada to possess property knowing that the property was stolen. This offence is commonly referred to as “possession of stolen property” or as “PSP” and is prosecuted under Section 354 of the Criminal Code, which states:
354. (1) Every one commits an offence who has in his possession any property or thing or any proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or part of the property or thing or of the proceeds was obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment; or an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence punishable by indictment.
The offence of robbery involves the use of violence or threats of violence to facilitate the theft of property. The offence is set out in Section 343 of the Criminal Code, which states:
343. (1) Every one commits robbery who steals, and for the purpose of extorting whatever is stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to stealing, uses violence or threats of violence to a person or property; steals from any person and, at the time he steals or immediately before or immediately thereafter, wounds, beats, strikes or uses any personal violence to that person; assaults any person with intent to steal from him; steals from any person while armed with an offensive weapon or imitation thereof.
Robbery is an indictable offence and carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life. If firearms are involved in the offence, minimum sentences apply.
Breaking and Entering
“Breaking and entering” is an offence set out in Section 348 of the Criminal Code. There are two types of breaking and entering: breaking and entering into a “dwelling house” and breaking and entering into a place other than a “dwelling house.” The only difference between the two is the place where the offence occurred and the maximum punishment upon conviction.
The offence of breaking and entering into a dwelling house relates to breaking and entering into private residences or homes. It is the more serious of the two for obvious reasons. The sanctity of the home is recognized by the law and a violation of it is considered very serious. In fact, breaking and entering into a dwelling place can only be prosecuted by indictment and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, whereas breaking and entering into a place other than a dwelling house can be prosecuted summarily or by indictment and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
To commit the offence of breaking and entering, it is not necessary to “break” anything or “break into” anything. It is enough simply to enter premises without lawful excuse. That includes entering premises through an unlocked or open door without doing damage to anything. The key is lacking a lawful excuse to enter and then entering with the intention of committing an indictable offence such as theft, which is the most common motivation for breaking and entering.
The offence is set out in Section 348(1) of the Criminal Code as follows:
348. (1) Every one who breaks and enters a place with intent to commit an indictable offence therein; breaks and enters a place and commits an indictable offence therein; or breaks out of a place after committing an indictable offence therein; entering the place with intent to commit an indictable offence therein is guilty if the offence is committed in relation to a dwelling house, of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life, and if the offence is committed in relation to a place other than a dwelling house, of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
The term “home invasion” does not appear anywhere in the body of the Criminal Code, but is a term used to describe an aggravating circumstance with respect to breaking and entering and certain other offences. In the context of breaking and entering, a home invasion is a breaking and entering in relation to a dwelling house where the offender enters the home or residence knowing at the time of commission of the offence that there were people in the home. The “home invasion” label attaches to everything from a break and enter offence where an offender enters a home and terrorizes the occupants to steal ordinary items such as jewellery and electronics to a break and enter offence where an offender enters a marijuana grow house to steal marijuana and other contraband. In either case, an offender faces more serious consequences. Your initial consultation is free, so contact N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation today.