Shoplifting and Theft Lawyer Winnipeg
What is Theft?
Theft is the act of taking or converting another person’s property without their permission with the intent to deprive that person temporarily or permanently of that property. Conversion occurs where a good innocently comes into your possession, and knowing you have no right to it, you then use the good for your own benefit. For example, money could be erroneously put in your bank account, and knowing the money is not yours, you then spend it.
In order to be convicted of theft, the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements of the offence:
- That the property taken was owned by someone else;
- The value of the property;
- That you took or converted the property fraudulently and without colour of right; and,
- That you intended to deprive the owner of the property.
In the shoplifting cases though not required the Crown will usually tries to adduce evidence that shows:
- That you didn’t pay for the good or attempt to pay for the goods.
- That you didn’t have the money to pay for the goods.
Most businesses, especially major chains, have high definition video surveillance of their stores, along with loss prevention officers. Video footage capturing the theft often makes up part of the Crown’s evidence. Even when there is a clear case, you may not want to enter a guilty plea. A criminal defence lawyer can often convince the Crown to divert your charge, allowing you to resolve your matter without getting a criminal record.
Theft covers a wide range of offending behaviour from the relatively minor offence of shoplifting, to the theft of large sums of monies upward of a million dollars. Regardless of the value of the goods stolen, being found guilty can have a significant impact on your future.
Being found guilty of theft can affect your ability to find employment as it is considered a crime of dishonesty. Employers often require potential employees to provide a criminal record check as part of their hiring process. If the position requires you to handle or have access to money, the employer will not likely hire you. A current employer may terminate your employment if you are convicted of theft.
Having a criminal record for theft can interfere with your ability to travel internationally. Every country has its own individual policy, which are not always consistently enforced. If you have criminal record, US customs has the right to refuse you entry unless you get a US Entry Waiver prior to travelling. Getting a US Entry Waiver involves a complex application process, is expensive, and can take a long time to be processed.
Related Theft and Shoplifting Topics
- Joshua Rogala on CTV Winnipeg News providing legal commentary on false shoplifting allegations made against a 7 year-old.
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