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Arrested for Theft?

stealing money

Many people picture stealing when they think of theft. Even though this is technically a theft crime, there are many more instances when this accusation applies in British Columbia. Theft on pretenses, receiving stolen items, and service theft are just a few examples. These instances illustrate that shoplifting is just one kind of theft covered under British Columbia law.

If you have been accused of a theft-related offense in British Columbia, a theft lawyer can help you build a strong defense strategy that accounts for the unique details of your case. You may greatly improve your chances of securing the best possible legal result for your case by retaining the services of a tenacious New Westminster criminal lawyer who has practiced law for many years.

Theft Charges in British Columbia

Even if an object is not physically taken from its owner, a person may still be arrested for stealing in British Columbia. In situations of accused shoplifting, the simple intent to steal is already a crime. Intention is a key factor in almost all situations involving theft. “Theft” refers to intentionally taking another person’s property to deprive them of its use. Theft accusations in British Columbia often include the following:

  • Deception-based theft
  • Theft of utilities and other services
  • Acquiring lost or stolen items, even accidentally
  • Worker robbery
  • Using threats or force to steal

The rules against theft may appear clear at first glance, but their apparent simplicity belies the complexity and experience one must have to follow them correctly. If you are facing charges of shoplifting or robbery with violence in British Columbia, consulting with an experienced Vancouver assault lawyer might be very helpful.

Potential Consequences of a Theft Conviction

The value of the stolen goods serves as the starting point for defining theft under British Columbia law. The maximum sentence increases to 10 years if the value exceeds $5000. Conversely, the maximum sentence is two years behind bars if the item’s worth is less than $5,000.

The court takes several variables into account while deciding on sentencing. Theft from an employer (employee theft), for instance, is seen as more severe than theft of opportunity and warrants a harsher penalty. Significant aggravating elements include theft committed in violation of trust, such as that committed by a home-care nurse against a patient, an accountant against a customer, or a corporate official against the firm. Depending on the nature of the theft, the Criminal Code may impose harsher penalties.

Have Theft Charges Been Filed Against You? Help is Available from a British Columbia Theft Lawyer

Whether you’re facing charges for petit or grand theft, you must begin assembling your legal team immediately. Defending oneself against theft allegations is difficult without legal representation due to the case’s complexity. Finding the top British Columbia theft lawyer is crucial when your freedom is in danger.

When defending clients in British Columbia criminal matters, your lawyer will vigorously contest the prosecution’s evidence and craft a defense plan to get your charges reduced or dropped once and for all. Keep in mind that a theft accusation does not automatically imply guilt. The burden of proof is with the prosecution to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you were guilty of theft, that the item in question did not rightfully belong to you, and that you took it. An expert British Columbia theft lawyer will be able to find all available defenses to your theft charges.

Do not stare at a jail term if you have been accused of stealing. Contact us for a no-cost first consultation to have one of our experienced lawyers weigh your defense options.

When Should Theft Be Reported?

You can be charged with theft in Canada under the Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46) if you take or convert something that doesn’t belong to you with the intent to deprive the owner of it temporarily or permanently. Because theft is a criminal offense, a conviction could lead to severe penalties, including jail time. But exactly when should theft be reported, and how does this affect your case?

If you have been charged with theft, consult an experienced Vancouver criminal lawyer right away.

Proving a Theft Charge

The burden of proving a theft charge in Canada lies with the Crown Prosecutor. For a defendant to be found guilty of the crime, the prosecutor will have to establish the following elements:

  • That the defendant moved something, caused it to be moved, or began to move it knowing it belonged to someone else.
  • That the defendant moved the property, intending to steal it either temporarily or permanently.
  • That the defendant did not have the property owner’s consent

Where the owner’s property had CCTV cameras, there is usually strong evidence against the defendant. Nonetheless, this should not discourage you as an experienced lawyer could put up a good defense.

Limitation Period for Summary Convictions

Canadian law recognizes three types of offenses, summary conviction, indictable, and hybrid offenses. Indictable offenses are serious crimes like murder, while summary conviction offenses are less serious crimes, such as theft under $5,000. A hybrid offense, on the other hand, is a crime that could be categorized as either an indictable or summary conviction.

Generally, there is no statute of limitations on serious or indictable convictions, which means such crimes can be reported at any time. Summary conviction offenses, however, are subject to a 6-month limitation period, which begins counting on the date of commission.

Therefore, if a theft is under $5,000 and considered a summary conviction offense, the plaintiff is required to report it within 6 months after the crime was allegedly committed.

Limitation Period for Hybrid Theft Convictions

Most charges in Canada are tried as hybrid offenses, which is done to give the Crown Prosecutor more flexibility on how to prosecute the case. The prosecutor may decide to either pursue the charge summarily or by way of indictment, otherwise called electing.

Should the Crown Attorney elect to pursue a theft charge by way of indictment, the limitation period discussed above ceases to apply to the case. Simply put, the defendant will be charged regardless of when the plaintiff decides to report the case. They are no longer protected by the criminal law limitation period applied to summary conviction offenses.

Talk to a Vancouver Criminal Defense Lawyer

There is a limitation period for some criminal offenses in Canada, after which you cannot be charged with the crime. To find out more about how this deadline applies to your case, consult an experienced attorney.

Nicholas J. Preovolos has been defending the rights of criminal defendants in Vancouver for over 15 years. He understands the ins and outs of criminal theft in Vancouver, BC, and will work tirelessly to protect you and your interests.

If you have been charged with theft, contact N.J. Preovolos Law Corporation at (604) 521-5291 to schedule a consultation with a Vancouver Theft Lawyer.