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Toronto Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000 Charges Lawyer

What can happen when you are criminally charged with Theft Under $5000, Fraud Under $5000, or any other shoplifting related offence in Canada

Being charged (given a fingerprinting and court date) with shoplifting can ruin your career, prevent you from travelling to the U.S./internationally, and cause problems with Canadian immigration applications/status.

While most information regarding shoplifting charges found online is dedicated to informing the "typical" type of person charged with a criminal offence (who already have a criminal record and/or nothing to lose), our clients do not fit this profile.

Our clients are largely educated professionals and tradespeople, students, and the successfully self employed. They have worked very hard to achieve their place in life or are currently working to enrich their future and are primarily concerned about:
  1. the prospect of getting a criminal record
  2. what information regarding their charge is being released to their employers
  3. their obligations to disclose charge information to professional regulatory bodies (medicine, dentistry, OREA, CRN, etc.)
  4. their ability to cross the U.S. border and travel internationally to other countries
  5. their immigration status and future approval of immigration applications to Canada; and
  6. preventing their husband/wife, partner, parents, or someone else from finding out they were charged
For more information please see:

First Offence Shoplifting: Just being charged (receiving a fingerprint/court date) with shoplifting can create problems travelling to the U.S., show up on employment background checks, and negatively impact immigration to Canada. This article explores the wide range of ways your charge information is being shared and disclosed.

Theft Under $5000: What it means to be charged with theft under $5000 (section 334(b)) of the Criminal Code of Canada and answers to some of the most common questions regarding the offence. This includes the arrest process of being given a fingerprinting and court date by the police (often a Form 9 - Appearance Notice).

Shoplifting and Immigration: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have access to the police databases that will store your information about your offence. As such, just being charged with a shoplifting related offence often shows up on immigration related applications. We ensure all of our clients take all proactive steps necessary to ensure the greatest likelihood that they avoid potential immigration problems.

U.S. Travel Issues: Those charged in Canada with theft under $5000, fraud under $5000 or any other shoplifting related offence may be denied entry into the United States even if they are not found guilty or convicted in court. The U.S. deems shoplifting to be a moral turpitude offence which can lead to inadmissibility. U.S. Customs have access to Canadian arrest records through the RCMP CPIC database.

CPIC database information: Information about the Canadian Police Information Center database which is run by the Federal RCMP Police Force and accessible to all law enforcement in Canada and the US. 100% of people charged with shoplifting (been given a fingerprint and court date) have their information and fingerprints placed in CPIC.

Quantity: Value, Items, Stores: How each Crown Attorney's office assesses the total value of the items stolen, the number of individual items taken, the number of stores involved and allegations of targeting the same store in the past differently. These are some of many important aggravating factors considered by the prosecution in shoplifting cases.

Second Offence Shoplifting: Being charged for the second time with shoplifting is considered an aggravating factor which often will cause the prosecutor to seek much harsher penalties against you. This being said, sometimes these charges can be dropped if handled appropriately.

Fingerprints and Photographs: How the police take your fingerprints, mugshot, and other information about those charged with theft and share it with IRCC, US Customs, and other Police Forces. Some information regarding the charges is also retained and placed on certain background charges even after the fingerprints have been destroyed.

Shoplifting and Depression: How depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions combined with life stresses can lead to shoplifting charges. Mental health problems can benefit the accused in certain circumstances but can also make the situation much worse if not presented properly.

Shoplifting: Criminal Code: Understanding the relevant Criminal Code of Canada provisions dealing with most shoplifting related cases. This includes theft under $5000 (s. 334(b)), fraud under $5000 (s. 280(1)(b)), and possession of property obtained by crime (s. 354(1)(b)).

Get Shoplifting Charges Dropped: How to get shoplifting charges withdrawn (dropped). Every court house in the Toronto area works differently and the same strategies will not produce the same results at every court. How we use historic case precedents matching similar fact scenarios to persuade Crown Attorneys to drop your case when possible.

Theft from an Employer: Often referred to as a "breach of trust" type of theft/fraud, stealing from your employer is considered much more serious than a shoplifting charge. These cases are often aggressively prosecuted and harsh penalties are sought upon conviction.

Resisting Arrest/Assault: When a security guard or police officer reports that they were pushed, grabbed, shoved, hit, etc. when trying to apprehend the suspected shoplifter, a resist arrest assault charge is normally added. Depending on the courthouse the case is at, and the alleged facts, this can sometimes be seen as a significant aggravating factor. Jail is sometimes sought because of the resisting arrest charge (even for a first time offender).

Non-cooperation and running away: How being uncooperative and/or trying to run away always makes shoplifting charges worse and can sometimes even lead to additional Escape Lawful Custody charges being added.

Petty Theft Charges: How petty theft charges are defined in the Toronto and GTA Ontario area and how Crown Attorney's assess their seriousness. Also, determining whether you have been criminally charged by the police with theft under $5000 and what the potential punishments and consequences are as a result of being charged such as job less, getting a criminal record, immigration / IRCC problems, and being refused entry when travelling to the U.S. and other countries in the future.

Indian/South Asian shoplifting: New immigrants from India and other South Asian countries often are unaware they are being secretly watched in larger "big box" stores. This feeling of being alone often leads to arrests as attempts are made to steal merchandise.

The Top 10 things you should do if you get caught shoplifting:The top steps you should immediately take if you get caught shoplifting by store security. These steps will help reduce the chances of the charges showing up on criminal background checks, problems with Canadian immigration (IRCC), and being denied entry while trying to cross the U.S. border in the future.

Co-Accused shoplifting cases: Often charges are laid against two people at the same time in relation to the same offence. This can include two friends, spouses, or other acquaintances alleged to be shoplifting together. Learn about the law of criminal participation and how being co-accused with someone else can impact your case.

Children's Aid Referrals: If the shoplifting happens in the presence of children (even if a baby) often a referral is made to CAS which may lead to a social worker contacting the accused to investigate potential bad parenting/child abuse.

Keep shoplifting charges a secret: How to prevent your spouse, parent, relative, or members of the community from finding out you were charged with shoplifting. Given that being charged with a crime of dishonesty can irreversibly ruin your reputation it is extremely important that you take all possible steps to stop people from finding out about the charges.

Fraud Under $5000: Not every shoplifting related offence takes the form of a theft. Often a price tag is switched, a fraudulent return is made, or other schemes are used resulting in criminal fraud charges.

Possess property obtained by crime: Approximately 50% of police will also include a charge for possessing stolen property which adds to the counts the accused is charged with.

Explaining the charges to a spouse: Understanding why people who are often accomplished/successful, from a good home, or have a bright future ahead of them often get charged with shoplifting and how to help your spouse, relative, or other community member understand that this does not make you a bad person.

Stealing mail parcels from people's doorsteps: In the wake of COVID-19, more people are ordering items online and having them delivered and left on their porch or doorstep. Those caught stealing these items are charged with Theft Under $5000. They may also be charged with Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.

YCJA Youth shoplifting charges: When youths, those under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, are charged with theft it is via the YCJA which operates differently than the adult system. How parents can help their child deal with YCJA shoplifting charges in a way that minimally interferes with their schooling, extracurricular activities, and poses the smallest risk to their future.

Credit Card Fraud and Theft Charges: Unauthorized use of credit card and credit card theft charges under Sections 342(1) and 342(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Credit Card offences are taken seriously in Canada and the Crown Attorney will often seek jail and a criminal record even for first time offenders.

Gas station theft charges: Those who fail to pay for gas are often charged with theft under $5000 and or/fraud under $5000. How gas stations and the police identify and charge suspects for "gas and dash" type thefts. If confronted by the gas station owner or employees other charges such as mischief or assault may also be laid following the dispute.

Fraudulently Obtaining Transportation: Criminal charges under Section 393 (3) of the Criminal Code for transportation related frauds often as a result of not paying for public transit (TTC, Go Transit, etc.) or taxi cabs along with details of the potential problems these charges can create for those who are accused.

Warnings and Cautions: About how just being warned/cautioned in the past by the police is stored in their computer database and seen as an aggravating factor when the person is caught shoplifting the next time.

Toronto Shoplifting: It is extremely easy to get charged with retail theft in the GTA area as all police forces (Toronto, Peel, York, Durham and Halton) exercise very little discretion in who they are charging. Stores such as The Bay and Winners catch large numbers of shoplifters every day who then are charged by the police.

Form 9 Appearance Notice: About the Form 9 Appearance Notice Issued By a Peace Officer document that is frequently given by the Police to individuals charged with theft under $5000, fraud under $5000, possession of property obtained by crime, and other shoplifting related offences in the Toronto area.

Undertaking (Form 10): Those charged that are not released on an Appearance Notice will usually receive a Form 10 Undertaking which has a fingerprint and court date alone with possible additional conditions such as not attending at certain places or communicating with specific people.

Promise to Appear: Prior to the year 2020 sometimes the accused's fingerprint and court dates were provided on a white Promise to Appear document which has since been replaced with the new Undertaking charging document currently being used in 2022.

Self-checkout Shoplifting: Theft and fraud related shoplifting charges often stem from the improper use of self-checkout machines. How stores use CCTV security cameras to watch and record evidence of self-checkout related offences before reporting them to the police.

Summons to a Person Charged With an Offence: In cases where the accused resides in a different jurisdiction than the jurisdiction in which they are being charged, the Police may choose to compel them for fingerprinting/mugshot and to attend court by having their local police force serve them with a Summons.

Nurse (RN), RPN, and PSW issues: Information regarding issues specific to nurses and health professionals who get charged with shoplifting. This includes both licensing/professional regulation and employer related background check issues they potentially encounter when charged criminally.

Punishments and Consequences: More information on the potential consequences of being charged with theft or fraud under $5000. This includes the prospect of a first time offender getting a criminal record.

The Top 10 most important considerations to make when hiring a lawyer: It is extremely important that the lawyer you choose has expertise not just on defending the theft charges and getting the best result but also in dealing with other possible issues relating to the charge itself such as problems with employment background checks, IRCC / immigration applications, and travel to the U.S. and other countries in the future.

Fingerprints and Police Criminal Records Destruction Services: Our lawyer has submitted over 2000 fingerprint and file closure requests to all police forces in the GTA. About the process and what factors can cause fingerprint destruction applications to be refused.


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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  Law and Consequences

  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