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Are you saying you were with charged by the police and you pled guilty?
Do you know if you were given an absolute or conditional discharge?
Did anyone talk to you about diversion?
If you pled guilty and were convicted and simply had to pay a fine then unfortunately you do have a criminal record. Had you spoken to a lawyer before you would have been told to speak to the crown about diversion where you would have been able to come to an agreement to make amends to society in an alternative way so that you would have been able to have done something like some community service hours and then the charges would have been withdrawn and you would not have a criminal record.
Also, how do you spoken to a lawyer you would have learned that you did not have to pay the store that money as this was an empty threat and they have no authority to impose what they were trying to impose on you.
So, unfortunately you do have a criminal record and you will have that until the appropriate time passes and in years to come you can apply for a record suspension.
I'm very sorry to have to be giving you this answer but to tell you what you simply wanted to hear certainly would not help to you.
Unfortunately yes it can affect your ability to travel and your employability if you have a criminal record.
I see that another lawyer was helping you. Having gone over the conversation, I think I can offer some additional info. I think there was some confusion between you and the other lawyer. You said you paid the police officer a ticket for $70, correct? I take it, this ticket was for trespassing? If so, while you were arrested for Theft, you were not charged. Please confirm whether you actually attended court for this matter, or did it get "settled" by you and the police officer outside court.