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Toronto Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000 Charges Lawyer

The involvement of the Children's Aid Society (CAS) in shoplifting cases: referrals, investigations, home visits, and avoiding problems.

Sometimes a person is accused of shoplifting in front of children. This is a relevant consideration when evaluating shoplifting charges for two reasons:
  1. Depending on the location, the specific facts, and which Crown Attorney looks at your file, it may make the charge much more difficult to have withdrawn, and;

  2. The police will also often make a referral to the Children’s Aid Society who will then investigate the parent(s).

Social Workers getting involved in theft under $5000 cases

Some individuals are shocked when a social worker calls or shows up at their home or place of employment after they are charged with shoplifting. When the police issue the “Appearance Notice” document, if they are informed that a child (or children) were with the accused when the theft occurred, they will usually contact CAS to investigate the parent to ensure the child is not at risk.

In our experience, referrals to Children's Aid are often made in Toronto, Peel (Mississauga/Brampton), and York region cases if the accused has a child present with them in the store when they are charged. The referral is often made even if the child is too young to understand/remember what is happening (baby or infant).

Once the referral is made, a social worker is obligated to look into the matter and (hopefully) close the file.

How long does it take to be contacted by CAS?

Since most GTA area Children’s Aid Societies are very busy dealing with far more extreme allegations of bad parenting, and shoplifting in front of a child is not suggestive of physical harm, in our experience it often takes 3 to 6 weeks before they will contact the shoplifter about the matter. The case worker assigned to your matter is tasked with investigating and determining whether the child is at risk for psychological or physical harm. The normal method of investigation is to interview the parent about the matter. In some cases, they may also want to speak to the child.

Depending on the facts of the case and the discretion of the child protection worker, they may wish to meet you in person or just talk to you over the phone. In person meetings are the norm. Some will insist on meeting you at your house while others will agree to a more neutral location. If they meet you at your home, keep in mind they will be looking for evidence of harm to the child.

Preparing for a CAS home visit

If the social worker is meeting you at your home, you should ensure beforehand that it is clean and that there are no obvious visual signs of potential danger to your child. Don’t leave alcohol bottles, medications, sharp objects, or small objects that may be swallowed lying in reach. The worker may also want to look around and see what you keep in your cupboards. Be careful that your home contains nothing that would make the worker unnecessarily suspicious.

Just because the initial purpose of their investigation is a shoplifting charge doesn’t mean they won’t take action against you if they see something in your home that causes alarm. Much like the criminal charge itself, you have to take their involvement very seriously because it can create substantial problems if not handled correctly.

While a CAS investigation is entirely separate from the criminal charge you are facing, they have a tremendous amount of discretionary power and can have serious negative implications in your life. Their involvement in your case is also not dependent on the outcome of the criminal charge(s) you are facing.

Call us today for a free assessment

You don't have to jeopardize your future or waste thousands of dollars on excessive legal fees. We provide effective and affordable lawyer representation for those charged with all forms of theft and fraud related offences throughout Ontario, Canada.

Have a skilled criminal lawyer who focuses on theft and fraud related charges protect you and your future from the stigma and consequences of a criminal record.

Your case will be defended by a fully licensed Practicing Lawyer of the Law Society of Ontario. For more information about our lawyer, click here.

We provide our clients with:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • US travel advice and information
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • Clear goals of getting charges dropped and bail conditions varied without a trial
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Experienced, focused counsel

* Please note:

If you are not a paying client, we cannot answer questions and provide assistance with U.S. travel, immigration, employment background checks, and avoiding a criminal record. This includes those who have already retained other counsel and those whose cases have already been completed. We also only take calls/emails relating to Ontario, Canada area cases.

Are you a lawyer? If you are defending a theft or fraud related case and are looking for expert advice regarding possible defences, case strategies, and information release management call us at: 647-228-5969.

Please note: We do not accept legal aid certificate cases. All clients are handled on a private retainer only.


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  We provide:
  • Flat fee pricing
  • 99%+ non-conviction success rate
  • U.S. travel advice and information
  • Help with related immigration issues
  • Employment background check advice/services
  • Fingerprints and records destruction services
  • A clear goal of getting the charges dropped without a trial
  • Vulnerable Sector records suppression help
  • Timely resolutions
  • Lawyer/client privilege
  • Experienced, focused counsel