How Bad is a Theft Charge in BC?

man in jail for theft charge in BC

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What is the charge for theft in Canada?

So you got caught taking something that wasn’t exactly your’s. Now you may be looking at a theft charge on your permanent criminal record.

Everybody makes mistakes. But theft charges in Canada are no joke.

What’s done is done, so instead of dwelling on the past, it’s important that you look to the future and plan out a strategy to get through these charges with the least amount of trouble. 

The Different Types of Theft Charges

In Canadian Law, theft is first categorized by the monetary value of what was stolen. Theft charges fall into two categories: theft over $5000.00 and theft under $5000.00. Theft over $5000.00 is the more serious of the two charges. In fact, it is an indictable offence for which you can face up to 10 years in prison.

Is theft under 5000 a criminal offence in Canada?

The short answer is yes, a theft under $5000.00 CAD is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

What is the punishment for a theft charge in Canada?

If the value of the theft in Canada exceeds $5000.00 CAD, the punishment is up to 10 years in prison. 

If the value of the theft in Canada is under $5000.00 CAD, the punishment is up to 2 years in prison.

Various factors are considered by the court in determining an appropriate sentence. For example, theft from an employer (employee theft) is considered more serious and more deserving of significant punishment than a simple theft of opportunity. 

Breach of trust thefts, such as a home-care nurse stealing from a patient or an accountant stealing from a client, are also significant aggravating factors (meaning they are likely to increase the severity of punishment). 

In certain cases, the Criminal Code specifies more severe punishment depending on the type of theft.

thief breaking into trunk of car

The Legal Definition of Theft

In general, theft is committed when a person fraudulently and with a lawful right takes, or fraudulently and without lawful right converts to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent:

to deprive, temporarily or absolutely, the owner of it, or a person who has a special property or interest in it, of the thing or of his property or interest in it;


to pledge it or deposit it as security;


to part with it under a condition with respect to its return that the person who parts with it may be unable to perform;


to deal with it in such a manner that it cannot be restored in the condition in which it was at the time it was taken or converted.

A theft is completed when, with intent to steal anything, a person moves it or causes it to move or to be moved, or begins to cause it to become movable.

If you are under investigation or charged with theft, call our team of criminal defence lawyers now for a free consultation.

What You Can Do Next

If you are looking for ways on how to get out of theft charge or how to fight a theft charge in a court of law, then you are going to need a defence of theft. And that means you are going to need a good criminal lawyer.

The criminal defence lawyers at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group are some of the best shoplifting & theft defence lawyers in the Vancouver area – and they can help you with your case. Whether you want to reduce your punishment, avoid a criminal record, or attempt to have your charges dropped, we can work with you to achieve the best possible outcome. 

We understand that everyone makes mistakes, and that sometimes, especially when under financial stress or pressures, people make the wrong decisions. 

We have a proven track record and we can help you resolve your matter quickly and confidentially, with the best possible outcome for you. 

Give our office a call today or fill out our contact form for an initial consultation today.

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