If you are found guilty or convicted of committing a theft offence in Calgary, there will likely be some serious ramifications. Theft crimes can range from minor shoplifting charges to major automobile theft or embezzlement of a large sum of money.
The first thing you should do if you face charges of committing a theft is to retain a skilled Calgary criminal defence lawyer to represent you during your criminal proceedings. The Calgary criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence can provide you with the representation you need to poke holes in the prosecution’s case and obtain a favourable result in court.
The Basics of a Theft Charge
For the Crown prosecutor to prove you guilty of committing theft, he or she must satisfy certain required elements of the charge. If the prosecutor is unable to prove any of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt (i.e. the prevailing legal standard for Calgary criminal cases), then your criminal case could wind up being dismissed. The basic elements of a theft charge in Calgary include the following:
- That you stole or converted to your own use certain goods or property
- That you intended to steal, defraud, or permanently deprive the true owner of his or her goods or property
The most common theft charge is that of shoplifting, in which case the accused removes merchandise from a store without paying for it. You may be able to defend against a theft charge by alleging that you did not intend to steal the property, but that instead, you merely intended to borrow it. You could also allege that you truly believed that you were entitled to the property at issue or that you had a right to use or possess it. Finally, you could allege that a witness misidentified you and that you did not, in fact, take the property or merchandise.
Consequences of a Calgary Theft Conviction
A theft conviction in Calgary has serious consequences. If the allegedly stolen goods have a value below $5,000, the Crown prosecutor has discretion to charge you with either a summary conviction offence or a more serious indictable offence. For a summary conviction offence, you could receive a maximum $2,000 fine and/or six months in jail. A conviction for an indictable offence, you could receive up to ten years of incarceration. If you are a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program. If the allegedly stolen goods have a value of more than $5,000, the Crown prosecutor must charge you with an indictable offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction would then be ten years’ incarceration.
Contact a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Today
A theft conviction in Calgary has serious potential consequences. If you are currently facing theft charges, let the Bourdon Defence criminal defence lawyers help you out today. To schedule a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer, you should call us today at (403) 474-4143, or contact us online.