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Coping With Legal Issues

When I started getting into trouble I became pretty acclimated to legal procedures. Calling my attorney and working out bail was just another way to spend a Saturday night. Unfortunately, the stiffer the charges, the more difficult it was to talk my way out of a bad situation. After so many charges, I found myself slapped with a long jail sentence, and I realized that I wanted to turn things around. Fortunately, my lawyer was able to walk me through yet another process, so that I could make the right changes. My blog discusses how to emotionally cope with legal issues so that you can start living a good life.



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Coping With Legal Issues

Arrested for Retail Theft in Canada? What You Should Know About Facing Theft Charges

by Lillian Wheeler

In Canada, stealing from a retail establishment is treated as seriously as any other form of theft. If you have been charged with theft in Canada, your charges will be treated as either an indictable offense or a summary offense. Indictable offenses, or high-value theft charges, carry more severe penalties than low-value summary offense charges. If you're facing a court date for theft from a retail establishment, it's important to understand the basics of theft laws. Here's a look at what you need to know about the charges and your defense options.

Theft Law Basics

The Canadian legal system views theft not only as the taking of someone else's property by fraud or without permission, but you can also be charged with theft if you refuse to return something that belongs to someone else. It is important to understand that property can be defined as many things, including pets, personal belongings or other items.

Unlike some legal systems, the decision to pursue charges doesn't rest with the victim in Canadian theft cases. In fact, the decision to pursue charges is actually up to the police. While most theft cases are likely to result in charges, the police do have the authority to simply issue a warning.

Theft Charge Defenses

If you're being charged with theft, even if there is surveillance video, you can talk with a criminal defense lawyer about some legal defense options. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to have the charges dismissed. For example, if you were not intending to steal the item and the loss prevention specialists incorrectly assumed that you were, the lawyer will evaluate the surveillance footage as well as the witness statements and arrest notes. If there is sufficient evidence to claim that you weren't intending to steal the item, the lawyer can present the case in court.

Plea Bargain Negotiations

Sometimes, your lawyer can keep the case out of the courtroom. He or she may be able to meet with the Crown Prosecutor to negotiate the charges. In those cases, you might agree to community service or other restitution in exchange for legal paperwork requesting that the charges be dropped.

This keeps a charge of theft from appearing on your criminal record. This is most likely to be successful if you don't have a criminal history of any kind. If you've been previously convicted of theft or other crimes, your lawyer may need a different approach.

In those situations, the lawyer may be able to intervene and request counseling, probation or a conditional discharge. In those cases, you'll be found guilty but will face minimal legal punishment. It's important to understand, though, that with a theft conviction, you may also be at risk of losing your job, being demoted or being expelled from school. If you're an immigrant, you might even find yourself denied permanent citizenship.

Civil Case Considerations

Depending on the victim of the theft case, you may also find yourself facing recovery efforts for the cost of the investigation. Some companies will even file trespassing charges against anyone suspected of theft from their store. These are civil charges, but your defense attorney should still be able to help you. It is important that you have a skilled lawyer, because you could suffer lengthy legal and financial issues from these types of charges. You might be ordered to pay significant amounts in restitution, so having a lawyer to represent you could save you significantly.

The more you understand about theft charges and the legal aftermath, the easier it is to understand why you should hire a lawyer if you're facing charges. Whether you were wrongfully accused or just made a mistake, resources like Banks, Gubbins and Andrews Criminal Law lawyers help you settle the case.