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Toronto Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000 Charges Lawyer

Hiring a Lawyer: The 10 most important factors to consider when choosing a lawyer for shoplifting/theft under $5000 charges

Many people charged with shoplifting/theft under $5000 have never been accused of a criminal offence before. They may have hired a lawyer in the past for a real estate transaction or to assist them with immigration but not for criminal charges. Here are 10 of the most important factors to consider when hiring a shoplifting lawyer.
  1. The first step is to ensure that you are in fact being charged with shoplifting. Those who are charged will have been given either a white, blue, or green Form 9 - Appearance Notice with a fingerprint date and a court date or a white Form 10 - Undertaking with a court date. The charge will normally be listed as: theft under $5000 or fraud under $5000. Additionally the offence of "possession of property obtained by crime" may also be included (particularly if in York Region).

    If you have a court date, you are being charged and need a lawyer. Note while the Form 9 states "to a person not yet charged with an offence" this is a legal technicality (it takes time for the police to file the charging paperwork). You are being charged and should hire a lawyer immediately.

  2. The next step is to ensure that the person presenting themselves as a lawyer is an actual certified lawyer. In Ontario, all lawyers are licenced by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO). The LSO provides a free directory for the public to verify who is a lawyer and who is not on its website: lso.ca. This section is currently found by scrolling down on the main page and searching the lawyer database found under the heading: “Find a Lawyer/Paralegal”.

  3. Does the lawyer you are speaking with actually practice criminal law? They obviously should. There are many different types of lawyers (real estate, corporate, personal injury, family, estate, etc.). If you are charged with shoplifting it is best to have a lawyer who focuses on criminal law, and in particular the offences of theft and fraud to defend your case.

  4. Ask how much shoplifting related case experience the lawyer has at the courthouse your case is being heard at. Each courthouse in the GTA handles these cases differently. You should hire a lawyer who has substantial shoplifting case experience at the courthouse where your case is at (which will be determined by the location of the store where you were arrested).

  5. Is the lawyer charging a reasonable price for their services? You may find different lawyers will quote vastly different amounts to represent you. Be aware that some criminal lawyers quote private clients higher prices in an attempt to subsidize the relatively low amounts they get paid for taking legal aid certificate cases.

  6. Ask whether the lawyer will be personally handling the case or will the case be dealt to someone else (an associate, law student, paralegal, etc.). You should be told exactly who you will be dealing with before you decide to hire a particular lawyer to take your case.

  7. Does the lawyer also assist with the fingerprint and mugshot destruction in circumstances where this is possible? It is important that all police information/records of your charges that can be destroyed are destroyed. Just because a charge is withdrawn does not mean your information will automatically be erased from various police databases such as the CPIC database.

  8. Will the lawyer also assist with potential immigration (IRCC) applications and provide you with the necessary documents, letters, advice, etc. that you may need to avoid problems? In the GTA almost half the population is in the immigration system and it is extremely important that their lawyer anticipate and resolve potential problems before they arise.

  9. Does the lawyer have the experience/knowledge to provide advice regarding how just being charged can impact your current or future employment plans. This includes the numerous types of background checks including vulnerable sector screenings and also how this may impact your licensing or future licensing by professional regulatory bodies such as the CNO, CPSO, RICO, LSO, OCP, PEO, OMVIC, etc.

  10. A lawyer should not be flippant about the impact this can have on U.S. travel. Unless you are a U.S. citizen just having been arrested for shoplifting (often theft under $5000 or even thefts valued at under $500) can cause you to be denied entry at the border. Most people living in Canada will eventually travel to the U.S. to go shopping, visit relatives, go to Disney World, snowbird, etc. Some may wish to live/work there permanently or want to accept a job there temporarily. A lawyer should proactively work to ensure everything possible is done to reduce the likelihood of problems crossing the border.
If you have been criminally charged by the police (received a fingerprint and court date as detailed in #1) then you should immediately consult a lawyer for legal advice and representation.

Many people find themselves facing lifelong problems that could have been avoided if they received proper legal representation to begin with. If you have been charged, please call us today for a free consultation by a lawyer.

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