Despite what many people think, shoplifting is not a petty crime. In fact, it can come with some pretty serious consequences, including jail time and hefty fines. If you’ve been charged with shoplifting in Ontario, read on to find out more about what you can expect.
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The Different Types of Shoplifting Charges in Ontario
If you have been caught shoplifting in Ontario, you could be facing one of a few different types of charges. The type of charge you face will depend on the value of the merchandise you are accused of stealing.
If the value of the merchandise is less than $5,000, you will be charged with theft under $5000. This is less serious then a higher value theft but can still involve a fine, jail term and having to pay back the merchandise value or money stolen.
If the value of the merchandise is over $5000, you will be charged with theft over $5000. This is a more serious offense and can involve a fine, jail term and having to pay back the merchandise value or money stolen.
Within these two main categories are many subcategories and factors to take into account. A major one includes whether the theft occurred while in a position of authority or at work. It is important to have a qualified lawyer review the facts of your case to get you the best result.
The Punishments for Shoplifting in Ontario
If you are caught shoplifting in Ontario, the punishment you receive will depend on the value of the items you stole. If the value of the merchandise is less than $5,000, you will be charged with a summary offense and could face a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to six months in jail. If the value of the merchandise is $5000 or more, you will be charged with an indictable offense and could face a fine of up to $25,000 and/or up to 10 years in jail. Again, these are just guidelines and depend greatly on the facts of each case.
How to Avoid Shoplifting Charges in Ontario
Shoplifting is a serious crime in Ontario and can lead to severe penalties, including jail time. You may also have to pay restitution to the store owner for the value of the merchandise you stole. In addition, your name will be added to a national database of shoplifters and you will have a criminal record, which can impact your ability to get a job or travel outside of Canada.
There are some simple steps you can take to avoid being charged with shoplifting in Ontario:
– Pay close attention to store security cameras and avoid areas where they are present;
– Do not put items into your pockets or bag unless you intend to purchase them;
– Do not remove security tags from items;
– Do not attempt to conceal merchandise on your person;
– Do not leave the store without paying for all of the items in your possession.
The Consequences of a Shoplifting Charge in Ontario
If you are caught shoplifting in Ontario, the consequences can be serious. Depending on the value of the merchandise you are caught stealing, you could be charged with a summary offence or an indictable offence. A summary offence is less serious than an indictable offence and is dealt with in the Ontario Court of Justice, while an indictable offence is more serious and is dealt with in the Superior Court of Justice.
If you are charged with a summary offence, you will likely face a fine and/or a jail sentence of up to six months. If you are charged with an indictable offence, you could face a longer jail sentence and/or a larger fine. In addition to any legal penalties, a shoplifting charge will also go on your criminal record. This can make it difficult to find employment or housing in the future.
The best way to avoid the consequences of a shoplifting charge is to not steal in the first place. However, if you have already been charged, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible to help you navigate the justice system and protect your rights.
If you have been caught shoplifting in Ontario, it is important to understand the possible charges and consequences you may face. A criminal record can have a significant impact on your life, so it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible. If you are facing shoplifting charges, contact our experienced criminal defence lawyers today for a free consultation.
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