Practice area: Theft
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Shoplifting is a common offence committed by people with no criminal history or involvement with the Court. Although theft is considered a crime of dishonesty, people with good morals may find themselves charged with this offence. A criminal record for shoplifting usually describes the offence as “theft under $5,000”. It does not differentiate a shoplifting charge.
An arrest for shoplifting is embarrassing and stigmatizing. A criminal conviction for theft under $5,000 can stand in the way of good jobs, it can bar candidates from certain post-secondary education and can lead to a significant reduction of income over a lifetime.
Most retailers make it a policy to arrest and seek charges for anyone who steals from them, either by shoplifting, changing price tags, or making false returns. Stores such as The Bay, Sears, Canadian Tire, Whole Foods and other grocery stores have full-time loss prevention officers who will arrest any subject they find shoplifting. After the arrest, they call the police who will normally attend and serve the suspect with a Promise to Appear. The store security officer then gives their report to the police who prepares a police file.
A Promise to Appear is a document that compels you to show up in Court at the date and time specified in order to answer the allegation. This is not the trial date. This is simply a date for the defendants or their lawyers to attend and obtain particulars of the allegation. For shoplifting charges, we usually attend on behalf of the accused to obtain disclosure and ensure the Court is aware the accused is represented by counsel.