In Canada and worldwide, theft is one of the most common crimes in criminal and investigative courts. However, many people confuse it with robbery or another kind of crime.
The difference is very simple.
In a robbery, the offender exerts violence or intimidation against a person or acts with force in things. In a theft, these characteristics do not occur; there is no violence, intimidation, or force. For example, if your wallet is stolen in the metro, and you don’t realize it, it is theft. But if your wallet is stolen at the point of a knife, it is a robbery.
That is why the theft charges in Canada are different from other crimes. Today, we are going to discuss the crime of theft and its penalty.
What is Theft?
To make it theft or even shoplifting, the intention must be only to steal the item. There is no intention or occurrence of violence associated. For example, if you take a thing from a shop without paying will not necessarily be considered theft. You have to have an intention of not paying. Only then will the prosecutor declare this a crime of theft. But if you forget to pay- it’s not a crime.
Modalities of the Crime of Theft
The basic modality consists of taking a thing that is not yours without the owner’s will.
There are also aggravated modalities. For example, some behaviors are also the crime of theft, but that is considered more serious due to specific circumstances. And therefore, their penalty is greater. Some examples are:
- If the stolen are things of artistic, historical, cultural, or scientific value.
- If the victim or his family is left in a serious financial situation
- If it is done by abusing the personal circumstances of the victim
- If minors under the age of fourteen are used for the commission of the crime.
Penalties for Theft in Canada: Different Charges for Different Degrees
In Canada, the crime of theft is divided into two types. Crimes of theft heft under $5,000 and theft over $5,000.
For theft over $ 5,000, the accused is liable to 10 years imprisonment. The accused is then granted the right to stand trial before a judge and jury, a judge without a jury, or a provincial court judge.
For thefts under $ 5,000, the offense is hybrid. And the maximum penalty is two years imprisonment if the offense is treated as an indictable offense. However, absolution (absence of a criminal record for the accused) is a possible alternative if the mitigating factors are sufficient. In addition, the accused may meet all the criteria listed in section 730 of the Criminal Code. (Ex .: no history in a similar matter, reimbursement or return of the property to its owner, property of small value, etc.) In such a case, the punishment decreases.
I am the Victim Of Theft; what Should I Do?
If you are the victim of this offense, you can file a complaint to have the offender ordered to pay a fine and go to jail. To file a complaint, you must go to the police station of your choice. Your complaint will then be sent to the public prosecutor, who will decide on the follow-up to be given to your complaint (initiation of criminal proceedings or dismissal).
If you do not know the identity of the person who robbed you, you have the option to file a complaint against X.