Most theft under charges are simple misunderstandings or a momentary lapse in judgement. A finding of guilt can negatively impact the following aspects of your life:
- Employment (Many employers and even volunteer positions are requesting criminal record checks before accepting applications.)
- Immigration and Citizenship applications
The Crown prosecutor must prove that you intended to steal the item;
For example, if you are charged with shoplifting a book, the Crown prosecutor must prove that you intended to leave without paying for the book. If you honestly forgot to pay for the book, or if you honestly forgot you were carrying the book, and the judge believes you, you cannot be found guilty of the offence.
Once arrested for theft, the police will forward your information to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The RCMP will post your information on the Canadian Police Information System (CPIC), regardless whether you have been convicted or not. Your record of arrest is then available to:
- all police agencies
- all security services,
- and border agencies
The record stays forever unless an application is made to have it destroyed. This report can cause issues with travel, immigration and employment applications.
Persons charged with theft under or shoplifting can face serious ramifications such as:
- If the prosecution proceeds “summarily”, the charge will be treated as a summary offence for which the maximum punishment is 6 months in jail and a $5000 fine.
- In many circumstances, statements made by a person caught shoplifting can potentially be used as evidence when later proving the offence of theft under