There is no criminal offence of “shoplifting”, per se. The actual offence is Theft Under $5,000 (or potentially Theft Over $5,000, depending on the value of the property in question).
Although certainly on the low end of the spectrum in terms of criminal offences, even Shoplifting can result in criminal convictions, particularly if the value of the property in question is significant, or if there were “aggravating” features to the offence. One aggravating feature that would make the offence more serious is where it is committed within the context of one’s employment. This, in law, amounts to a breach of trust.
If the property value is minimal, there are no aggravating features to the offence and the accused has no prior criminal history, the Crown Attorney may offer the accused a chance to participate in the Direct Accountability (or Diversion) program. This is a way of dealing with low level property crimes without proceeding through the usual criminal court process.
Diversion usually involves the accused completing certain tasks in order for the Crown to agree to withdraw or stay the criminal charge. Some of these tasks, for example, might include community service hours; making a charitable donation; writing an apology letter; attending at a Theft Intervention Workshop.
Toronto Criminal Lawyer Andrew Captan offers reduced fees for Shoplifting cases that may be eligible for Diversion. Call him today at (647) 878 – 6355 for a quote.