If you have been accused of stealing, robbery, burglary, carjacking, or any other kind of theft in Winnipeg, you need to know your rights, and the basics about the charges being brought against you.
You should already have a theft lawyer in Winnipeg who can defend you, but if you don’t, you may be wondering about the severity of the charges that are being leveled against you, and what kinds of penalties you may be facing.
In this article, we’ll examine the two basic kinds of theft law in Winnipeg, and some contributing factors that may lead to higher fines and penalties and longer sentences. Let’s get started.
Theft In Winnipeg Is Divided Into Three Categories
There are three basic types of theft charge in Winnipeg. There were only two until 2010, when a federal law was passed that increased the penalties for car theft. They are:
- Under $5,000 – Thefts of under $5,000 are punishable as an indictable offence, punishable by imprisonment for up to 2 years. Less serious crimes can be punished by summary conviction, which carries a penalty of a maximum of 6 months imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both.
- Over $5,000 – All thefts over $5,000 are indictable offences. It is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to ten years.
- Car theft – Under new Canadian laws, car theft can be punished by up to a decade in prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months in jail upon a third conviction.
Depending on the amount of money or type of property that you are accused of stealing, the penalties that you may be facing could vary quite a bit. For example, shoplifting will rarely result
in a serious criminal conviction, but stealing an item while armed could result in more severe penalties.
Factors That Affect The Severity Of Charges And Sentencing
The type of property and value of property stolen is only one part of the charges that you may face when accused of theft. Other contributing factors that may lead to stiffer penalties include:
- Violence or assault when stealing items – The severity of a criminal charge for theft that includes violence, assault, or any kind of menacing behavior may carry a heftier sentence in Winnipeg.
- Breaking and entering – Trespassing, breaking and entering, and unlawful entry are all taken into consideration when prosecuting for a theft charge, and could also carry mandatory minimum punishments. Home invasion, for example, is likely to carry a higher penalty than trespassing.
- Previous criminal convictions (violent or non-violent) – Your previous criminal record is taken into account when deciding the charges and potential penalties that you may be facing. For example, a first-time shoplifter may be dismissed with only a minor penalty or community service.
However, if you have a history of shoplifting or other criminal offences, you are more likely to be subject to higher penalties, imprisonment, and probation, among other punishments.
- Use of a firearm or other weapon – Using a firearm in the commission of any criminal offence, such as theft, in Canada, is a serious indictable offence. For example, pointing a firearm at another person carries a minimum sentence of 6 months in prison, up to 5 years, and a $5,000 fine.
To understand the charges and potential fines and jail time you may be facing, it’s important to consult with your defence attorney, and get their counsel on the best method by which you can eliminate or reduce the charges that are being held against you.
Know What To Expect From Theft Law In Winnipeg With This Guide
If you are being accused of theft, you must understand the penalties and charges that you may be facing, depending on your particular situation. Hopefully, this guide has aided you in doing so. For more information, consult with your defence attorney.