In Canada, theft is any act in which an individual or group knowingly and fraudulently takes an asset for their own without the right to do so. In taking the item (whether it be animate or inanimate), they intend to deprive its owner of the item and use it for their own personal gain. If the person moves, orchestrates the removal of, or makes the asset movable without consent, they are committing theft. There is usually a level of secrecy in play as well.
The purpose for taking the asset is up to the individual’s motivations but is usually to convert the material possession for personal gain.
Theft also applies to the taking of living animals, too, such as stealing a family cat or dog.
What is the $5,000 Threshold?
Theft under or above $5,000 determines a criminal offender’s sentencing. Theft of goods with a value under $5,000 is likely to come with a maximum sentencing of six months of jail time. However, there may be additional factors that lengthen the sentencing.
Even if a defendant receives limited or no jail time, the conviction will leave a stain on their record, making future employment difficult and potentially affecting immigration status.
Theft of goods valued over $5,000 comes with a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. There is no minimum sentencing.
What is the Consent Defence, and How Does it Relate to These Types of Criminal Offences?
The consent defence argues that the victim of a criminal offence consented to the act. In cases of theft, that may suggest that the owner of an item (a car, a piece of jewelry, an animal) consented to the other party taking the item. This may sound silly until you remember that misunderstandings happen all the time. Such a concept is not unheard of between friends or family members. We mishear or misinterpret each other all of the time.
Misunderstood consent may also apply to financial or retail deals. For example, a person may think that they paid for an item when in fact, they did not. They walk away with the item, believing they have the consent to do so, and accidentally are guilty of theft instead.
Other examples of the consent defence in theft cases may involve buying and using a piece of property for yourself, unknowingly having purchased it from a seller with no authentic authority over the property.
The concept of the consent defence is relatively straightforward and easy to explain, but it can be far more complicated to put into practice.
Is Consent a Viable Criminal Defence for a Theft or Burglary Case?
While the consent defence may be the right course of action for your legal situation, it can be a difficult defence strategy to put into practice. To win a case with the consent defence, you must prove that consent was expressed, implied, or directly provided in a transaction. This proof may be difficult to come by, however.
For an improved chance of winning your case, it is highly advisable that you consult with a criminal defence lawyer about your unique theft, burglary, or B&E case.
Schedule a Case Review with an Experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer Today
William Jaksa Criminal Litigation provides skilled legal representation to clients with difficult legal issues. Gifted with nearly two decades of criminal law legal experience, the criminal defence lawyer is well-respected by colleagues and clients and in good standing with the bar association.
No legal matter can be adequately diagnosed online by reading a website. You must speak with the lawyer and his legal staff about your unique case in order to better understand your legal options going forward with your criminal defence strategy.
The consent defence is a complicated and difficult defence to wield in criminal law, regardless of whether you’re utilizing it in theft cases, assault cases, or sexual assault cases.
To learn more, please get in touch with our law firm to schedule your initial consultation. 647-951-8078.