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Theft Offences and Your Future

Being convicted of theft, classified as a type of property crime, can have serious implications and may affect your current and/or future employment, immigration status, family, and freedom. Having a criminal record can impact you for years to come.

If you are facing theft charges, we encourage you to call our office to schedule a consultation.

Below, find out more about these charges.

Types of Theft

Theft charges are typically classified as Theft Under $5000 and Theft over $5000. These charges usually involve retail theft (such as shoplifting), breach of trust involving employers, and larger thefts like vehicle theft.

At the core, theft is defined as taking something that does not belong to you without the owner’s permission.

Shoplifting and Theft Under $5000

Shoplifting, or theft from a retail store (not a private citizen) is the most common form of theft.

A shoplifting charge is a common and minor criminal offence. As a minor property related crime, shoplifting is usually treated less seriously than other criminal charges, and ranks near the bottom on the scale of criminal offences.

In fact, many first time offenders are able to get their charges diverted and avoid conviction and even trial. The main exception to this, however, is if you’re alleged to have stolen from your employer. Theft from your employer is considered a breach of trust, and the consequences of conviction can be very serious including incarceration.

Theft Over $5000

Theft over $5000 is much more serious than minor property related crimes such as shoplifting. Generally, these types of charges include workplace theft, embezzlement, and large-scale thefts of vehicles or construction equipment. .

While penalties for Theft under $5000 can be minor, those convicted of theft over $5000 may face up to 10 years in prison. Even first-time offenders may face severe penalties.

Getting Your Charges Diverted

In Alberta, the adult diversion program is called “Alternative Measures Program” or AMP; and the youth diversion program is called “Extra Judicial Measures” or EJS. Although programs will vary between regions, the Crown’s office will determine eligibility for diversion. An accused individual is likely to be eligible for diversion if:

  • They are a first-time offender
  • A small quantity of merchandise was stolen, and
  • The merchandise was returned or recovered.

Requirements in the diversion program vary, ranging from apology letters, community service, and charitable donations. If an accused is accepted into Alternative Measures and successfully completes the program, the charges will be withdrawn. This means that the accused individual gets to keep a clean criminal record and avoid the mess and embarrassment of a trial.

Not all those accused of minor property related crimes will be immediately eligible for a diversion program. In these cases, an experienced lawyer may make a case for the accused and convince the Crown Attorney to admit them into the program.

Sprake Song & Konye Can Help

Theft charges can have a long-term impact on your life and well-being, from giving you a criminal record to landing you in jail. The law surrounding theft is complicated and many accused don’t know how to handle the situation in which they find themselves.

Conviction of these crimes can turn your life upside down, and the process can be scary. We understand that people make honest mistakes, and we’re committed to helping you get out of a hole and back to your life.

We are ethical, aggressive lawyers who are familiar with handling these types of charges. Whether you are facing minor shoplifting theft under $5000 or more serious theft over $5000, we’re here to help.

If you are facing property crime or theft charges, contact us for a consultation.