One of the more common criminal property crimes one could be charged with is theft. Theft covers a wide array of offences, which are defined within the Criminal Code of Canada and range from shoplifting to pickpocketing to more serous thefts, like embezzlement. Theft offences, regardless of the actual value of the property stolen should be considered serious because the outcome could drastically effect your life if you are convicted and found guilty. To help ensure the best possible outcome, you need representation from Toronto thefts lawyer Rishma Gupta.
How Is Theft Defined?
Theft, itself, is the intentional and knowingly taking of another person’s property without their permission, with the sole purpose to deprive them use of or access to it. Depriving another use/access to their property does not have to be permanent and might only be temporary in some situations, like you steal their car and take it for a joyride, only to return it later.
A key element used to determine theft is whether the accused used or threatened to use force against the property owner during the commission of the crime. If either of these elements is present, then the crime is not necessarily considered theft, but possibly robbery.
In most cases, the property owner has no idea their property was stolen until after the fact, as it is stolen without force. In some cases, one could be charged with theft when they used false pretenses to obtain the property, or later decide to deprive the owner of the property.
For instance, you ask to borrow your neighbour’s bike so you can get to work. They willingly agree to allow you to use the bike. However, you have no intention of returning the bike and only asked to borrow it as false pretenses so you could steal it. On the other hand, initially you only wanted to borrow the bike with their permission, but sometime after the bike is in your possession, you make the decision to keep it and not return it. In both situations, you have just committed theft.
Furthermore, you do not have to retain the property for your own personal use, and could be charged with theft in cases where you sold, destroyed, or disposed of another’s property you stole, so long as the Crown can establish you intended to deprive the individual of their property.
A Word of Caution about Plea Offers
For less serious theft offences, the Crown will sometimes make a plea offer with the accused, like offering to reduce the charge to a lesser offence if they plead guilty. While this might seem like a good way to have the matter resolved quickly, it is never in your best interests. Even minor criminal offences are recorded on your criminal record and will remain with you for the rest of your life, which could impact your ability to find and maintain employment.
Before considering a plea offer, it is worth your time to discuss you case with criminal defence lawyer Rishma Gupta to determine the most appropriate actions to take to ensure you obtain the best outcomes possible. Call Ms. Gupta now to schedule a consultation appointment.