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Toronto Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000 Charges Lawyer

What a Form 9 Appearance Notice Issued by a Peace Officer is and how it is often used by Police to compel the accused to be fingerprinted and attend court in criminal shoplifting cases.

An Appearance Notice is a document found under Form 9 of the Criminal Code of Canada that is often provided by the Police (or any other peace officer) to individuals they are charging criminally. It compels them to do two things:
  1. Attend at the Police station (or sometimes the courthouse itself) to be fingerprinted and have their mugshot taken;

  2. Attend court for their case to be heard.
It is important to note that everyone who receives a Form 9 Appearance Notice is being criminally charged by the Police. The Form 9 is not a “ticket”. It is a method of release from custody as found in the Criminal Code for accused individuals who are awaiting trial. Prior to receiving this form the accused was under arrest. The alternative is for the accused to be taken to the Police station immediately and either released from the station or held for a bail (show cause) hearing the next morning.

A Form 9 Appearance Notice charging the accused with theft under $5000 (PLEASE NOTE: As of 2022 many GTA Police Forces are now using a larger white piece of paper for the Form 9 instead of the previous small blue/green one pictured here):

A Form 9 Appearance Notice Issued by a Peace (Police) Officer for Theft Under $5000

How come it says to a person “not yet charged with an offence”? Does this mean I may not be charged?

If you have been given an Appearance Notice, you are being charged. Technically you are legally charged when the Officer in Charge (OIC) of your case attends at the courthouse and swears a charging document called the Information in front of a Judge or Justice of the Peace. This process always occurs between the arrest date and the court date. In the Toronto, Ontario area, the first appearance date for court will normally be within 4 – 9 weeks depending on which Police force and police division is charging you. On average the first appearance date is about 6 weeks in Toronto and 4 – 5 weeks in York Region.

What happens if I ignore the Appearance Notice and don’t show up?

It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with the Form 9 Appearance Notice. Failure to attend for either the fingerprint date or the court date will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest and additional criminal charges for failure to comply.

If the Police have released you on an Appearance Notice this means they were satisfied that they correctly identified you and that you would comply with the terms of release (attend as required). It also indicates that they felt no other release conditions were necessary given the nature of the crime and the background of the accused individual.

What if there is a mistake on the Form 9 Appearance Notice that was given to me?

It is not terribly uncommon for Police officers to make mistakes on Form 9s. The most common we see are putting the wrong year (particularly in December/January), selecting a court date that is a holiday, and picking dates that do not match the stated day (Monday, Tuesday, etc.) on the calendar. If the Officer wishes to correct their error they will have to personally serve the individual with a new Form 9. Even if there is a mistake on the Form 9 this does not mean the person does not have to answer to the charge(s). The document can always be amended later.

How does the fingerprinting process work and why am I being fingerprinted prior to going to court?

As of 2022, most individuals charged in the GTA will have a separate date prior to their first court date to attend at the police station to have their fingerprints and mugshots taken. Currently in Durham region (Oshawa court) and York region (Newmarket court) accused shoplifters are often fingerprinted at the courthouse prior to their first court appearance date. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic fingerprinting most often took place in shoplifting and theft under $5000 cases on the first appearance court date in the Oshawa and Newmarket courts.

The Police have a right to fingerprint anyone they believe committed an indictable offence. Shoplifting crimes (theft and fraud under $5000) are Crown elect indictable offences despite all the false information out there describing them as "summary offences" (even from some Government sources). Fingerprinting is part of properly identifying the accused. The police use this information for investigative purposes and to protect the public as more than one person can share a name and date of birth.

Unfortunately, the fingerprints, mugshot, and charging information is immediately provided to the RCMP who then share this information in the CPIC database with all law enforcement agencies in North America including US Customs and Border Protection. We are often able to have the fingerprints and the information contained in the CPIC database destroyed afterwards.

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