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CaptanLaw, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 232
Experience:  I'm a criminal defence lawyer, who assists individuals charged with crimes.
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my offence is theft under what is my penalty

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my offence is theft under what is my penalty

I'm a criminal defence lawyer and can assist you with your questions.

First, can you provide me with 2 pieces of information:

(1) What is the value of the property that you allegedly stole?

(2) Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offence in Canada before?

Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The value is $200. No I am not convicted of any offence in Canada.

Thank you for that information:

Your main question is what is the penalty for Theft Under $5,000. The answer is that there is no set penalty upon a finding of guilt for this offence. Upon a finding of guilt (such as after a loss at trial or upon a guilty plea), the maximum punishment is 6 months jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The minimum punishment is an absolute discharge. Therefore, upon a finding of guilt, there is a range of potential punishments open to judges.

With that said, for a first time offender who allegedly stole property of a minimal value, the Crown usually offers something Diversion. Diversion is the process by which the Crown's office deals with minor offences allegedly committed by first time offenders. If the accused person is offered diversion, accepts the offer and completes the requirements of the program, then the Crown either withdraws or stays the proceedings. Typical Diversion requirements include community service or a charitable donation. This is an optimal result, as you walk away without any finding of guilt or a criminal conviction. You do not have to plead guilty or admit criminal liability.

The offer for Diversion is usually given at an accused's first appearance in court. Therefore, tomorrow, you may be given this opportunity (and based on what you've told me, I believe you will be). Once the Crown advises you of this option, you will probably be given a chance to discuss it in person with a Duty Counsel lawyer at the court.

Accordingly, do NOT plead guilty to this offence unless and until you've been advised of your options, including whether Diversion is a possibility.

Do not stress tomorrow. Nothing substantial will happen, aside from possibly being told that the Crown will be agreeable to Diversion (which, of course, would be good news!).

If they do not offer you this at your first appearance tomorrow, this does not mean that you may not be able to convince the Crown later on to offer this. If they do not offer it, you will be given your disclosure package (which is the evidence the Crown has to support the Theft Under $5,000 charge). You can take this disclosure and request that the Court provide you with some time to consult with a lawyer / retain a lawyer.

In short, based on the facts you've provided, it seems that the Crown should offer you Diversion. If they do not, you, or your lawyer, may subsequently be able to convince them to Divert your charge. If that does not work, in the VERY worst case scenario you may be found guilty of the offence and receive a discharge, which is a finding of guilt but does not entail a criminal conviction. It is a conviction that immigration Canada and most employers worry about, although there are exceptions to this rule.

I hope this helps. If it has, please provide me with a positive rating so the website can pay me for my time. If you have further questions still, don't hesitate to ask.

Good luck!
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