Moose Jaw, SK Theft Lawyer

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There are two theft offenses in Moose Jaw: theft over $5,000 and theft under $5,000. Both are serious charges. Theft charges also cover fraud. It covers any instance where you take something from another person with the intent to deprive them of it, either temporarily or permanently. 

You can also be charged with theft for “converting” a piece of property that doesn’t belong to you. This means you take the property in one form, convert it to another form, and then benefit from the new property in the new form. The most common version of this is stealing an object, selling it, and then using the money to buy other things. 

In all cases, the charges are much more serious when you are in a relationship of trust with the party you allegedly stole from, such as when you are an employee who is accused of stealing from an employer. 

To prove theft, the Crown must prove the following:

  • You took, or converted to your use or to the use of another person, anything you did not own. 
  • You intended to steal the property.
  • The owner did not consent to your use of the property, or your taking of the property.
  • The value of the property you tried to steal (for the purposes of classifying the severity of the theft).

The Crown will do this by bringing forth witness statements, documents, photographs, receipts, video footage, and more. 

As your Moose Jaw, SK criminal defense lawyers it will be our job to help undermine these arguments. 

Theft Under $5,000

Theft under $5,000 is punishable by up to 2 years in prison. You can also be asked to pay restitution. 

If this is the first time you’ve been charged we may be able to get you into the alternate measures program for this charge. This means you would be asked to meet certain conditions and perform community service. You would also be asked to pay restitution to the victim of a crime. 

If you successfully complete the program, the prosecution withdraws the charges and your criminal record stays clean. Discharge is a similar program.

Theft Over $5,000

Theft over $5,000 is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. You can also be asked to pay restitution. 

Note that going even $1 over $5,000 will open you up to this larger charge. 

Offenses “Resembling Theft”

Offenses resembling theft might include fraud, motor vehicle theft, and the criminal breach of trust. 

Possession of Stolen Property

You can be charged with possession of stolen property if you knowingly obtain property that was first obtained by theft. You cannot be charged with this crime if your criminal defense attorney can prove that you did not know that the property was stolen in the first place. 

This also includes property that is not in your physical custody but is at a location that belongs to you, and the property is kept for your benefit, or if you have joint control over the property with another person.

Like the initial theft charge, possession of stolen property is divided up between possession of stolen property worth $5,000 or less, and possession of stolen property worth $5,000 or more. The penalties are similar to the penalties for committing the initial theft. 

This charge becomes more severe if the property came into Canada from another country, or if the offense involved communication with a criminal organization. 

Defenses for Theft Charges

There are several defenses we can raise in a theft case.

The first is the most obvious: you’re innocent. If exculpatory evidence exists, we can use it to prove that you did not commit the crime. Perhaps there was a case of mistaken identity. Perhaps you were nowhere near the location where the property was stolen at the time that it was stolen, and the Crown can’t prove you ever had access to the property.

Another defense is lack of intent. If you did not know you were stealing or intend to steal then you can’t be convicted of theft. This might arise when you accidentally leave the store with an item at the bottom of your shopping cart, for example. You had everything else rung up, so it’s unlikely that you meant to escape with this one small thing. 

If the property was yours in the first place, you have a very strong defense so long as we can prove it. 

In a possession of stolen property case, we might also raise the defense of “innocent possession,” that is, you obtained possession of the property but did so for the purposes of returning the property to its rightful owner, or to the police. 

Finally, if law enforcement violated your rights in any way while investigating or pursuing the case we can often get any evidence associated with that violation thrown out of court. 

Get Help Today

Theft charges can have a serious impact on your future. In addition to jail time, you will now have a criminal record for a crime of dishonesty. 

This could mean facing major difficulties in the future when it is time to find a job, or to secure housing. A conviction of theft can damage your reputation for life.

Our team has the skills and experience to help you minimize the impact that these charges have on your life. We come armed with the research and strategy that it takes to get your charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced whenever possible. We’re also fully prepared to fight for your acquittal at trial if that proves to be the best scenario. 

We pride ourselves on delivering incredible legal representation at affordable rates. We are responsive and empathic, and fight vigorously for you. We’re relentless about finding the path that will help you the most. 

If you or a loved one needs help, contact Moose Jaw Criminal Defense Lawyer at (306) 634-7777 today. 

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