(A) The definition
Although the term is commonly used, many people are misinformed about what actually constitutes theft. We are inclined to think that to steal is to take and leave with something that does not belong to us. For example, shoplifting. However, it is not always that simple, and it is important to understand what the definition of theft really is. Section 322 of the Criminal Code gives us the exact definition of this offence.According to this definition, a theft occurs when anyone who takes, or converts to his own use or to the use of another person, fraudulently and without appearance of right, anything with the intent to temporarily deprive its rightful owner.
There is theft from the moment when, with the intent of stealing something, an individual moves it or makes it move. Thus, for example, there may be a theft even if the person does not leave the business (or the place where it is) with the object they’re trying to steal. Therefore, putting an object in a bag or camouflaging it and heading towards the exit, may be sufficient to be accused of theft. It will also be necessary to prove the intent of the individual to steal the object in question.
(B) Employer theft or motor vehicle theft
The law provides for certain aggravating circumstances in matters of theft. A simple example is employer theft. The fact that the theft is committed in a work environment is an aggravating circumstance, when it comes to negotiating a sentence. In other words, for an employer theft, sentences are more severe due to the relationship of trust that exists between an employer and an employee. Similarly, vehicle thefts are also considered more serious and are subject to severe sentences due to the nature of the object.
Just because an individual is charged with theft does not mean he is automatically guilty of that offence. Often, people are detained by security agents and do not have the opportunity to explain the situation. It is not uncommon for people to be charged with theft when it was simply an error of carelessness or forgetfulness, and they had no intention of stealing the merchandise.
It is important for these individuals to consult with a criminal lawyer, who will be able to inform them of the appropriate procedure and evaluate the possibility of obtaining an acquittal.
It is a lawyer’s job to do everything in his power to prevent these people from ending up with a criminal record.
D) Avoiding a criminal record
It is imperative to know that even in cases where the person recognizes that he or she has committed a theft with the intent to do so, it is possible to get away without a criminal record.
Ask our lawyers about the possibility of obtaining a discharge, with or without conditions.