Theft Lawyers in Calgary: Experience Matters

Theft is covered under s.322 of the Criminal Code, found in Part IX. Part IX covers “Offences Against Rights of Property.”

Theft is a non-violent property offence which involves taking property that belongs to another person with the intentional of temporarily or permanently deriving them of a good.  Theft can be divided into theft under $5000 and theft over $5000. These specific theft offences are covered under s.334 of the Criminal Code.

Key Takeaways

  • The severity of a theft offence will vary depending on whether you are prosecuted summarily or by indictment.
  • There is potential for incarceration for a theft charge, varying from 2-10 years.
  • Depending on the circumstances of the theft, there may be a presumption against granting bail.
  • Bail conditions can include refraining from contacting the alleged victim, a prohibition on drugs, alcohol, travelling, and weapons, and conditions such as curfew or house arrest.
  • Theft charges can be beaten. Contact a lawyer for assistance in determining the best strategy for you.

Definitive Guide to Theft Charges in Canada

If you or a loved one has been charged with theft, your best defence is an experienced legal team. Read our comprehensive guide to theft to learn about the charges, defences, and punishments.

Read The Guide

How can a theft lawyer in Calgary help?

When fighting a theft charge, there are numerous advantages to hiring a criminal defence lawyer. A lawyer will provide you with legal advice before they charge you, which will allow you to determine if you would like to continue with their services. A lawyer can also protect you against self-incrimination by allowing you to navigate your conversations with law enforcement.

A lawyer’s purpose is to be dedicated to helping you beat the charge. A lawyer will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and retain expert witnesses if necessary to help you reach the best possible outcome. Lawyers also come with a wealth of experience navigating the criminal justice system and court process, and can represent you during trial.

Theft Charge in the Criminal Code of Canada

Theft has a broad definition, but most commonly involves depriving another person of their interest in an animate or inanimate object either temporarily or absolutely. It can also involve depositing this item as security, failing to return an item, or dealing with an item in a way in which it cannot be restored to its original condition.


(1) Every one commits theft who fraudulently and without colour of right takes, or fraudulently and without colour of right converts to his use or to the use of another person, anything, whether animate or inanimate, with intent

a) 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;

b) to pledge it or deposit it as security;

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

d) 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.

Except where otherwise provided by law, every one who commits theft

(a) if the property stolen is a testamentary instrument or the value of what is stolen is more than $5,000, is guilty of

(i) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years, or

(ii) an offence punishable on summary conviction; or

(b) if the value of what is stolen is not more than $5,000, is guilty

(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or

(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction

Examples of Theft Charges

Some examples of a theft charge may include the following:

  • A person stealing a bike they find in a park;
  • A person shoplifting from a store;
  • Leaving a store without paying for groceries; and
  • Robbery of a poppy box from a store.
calgary theft lawyers

Theft Charge Defences

Every case is different. The availability and strength of any defence depend entirely on the specific facts of your case. The strength of any available defence rests on the evidence against you and the precise details of the allegations. However, the following are some common defences that may be used when fighting a theft charge.

  • Factual innocence: There are circumstances in which you may be factually innocent of a theft charge. This can include not having the mental intent to commit theft, such as accidently walking out of a store without paying. This can also include circumstances in which you owned the property which you are accused of stealing.
  • Colour of Right: This defence to theft occurs when you honestly believe that you have a right to property when you did not. This requires you to establish the basis at trial to prove that you honestly had this belief.
  • Identity: Depending on the circumstances of your case, a possible defence to a theft charge may be to raise an identity defence. In this case, for this defence to be raised successfully, you will have to prove that you were not the person who engaged in the theft.
  • Any applicable Charter defences: The Charter sets out your rights and freedoms before and after your arrest. If the police fail to abide by these rights deliberately or inadvertently, it could aid in your defence. If any of your Charter rights have been violated before or after your arrest, you may be able to have some or all of the evidence that the Crown is relying on to secure a conviction excluded under s. 24(2) of the Charter.

What are the consequences of a theft charge? 

Theft over $5,000 and under $5000 are hybrid offences. with Crown election. This means that depending on the circumstances of your case, the Crown can elect to proceed by indictment or summarily. If an accused is prosecuted by indictment. There is a Defence election of court under s. 536(2.1) of the Criminal Code for indictable theft over charges, but not for theft under charges.

The maximum punishment for theft over is 10 years incarceration. The maximum punishment for theft under is no more than 5 years of incarceration if prosecuted by indictment. If either offence is prosecuted summarily, the maximum punishment is no more than 2 years of incarceration and/or a $5,000 fine.

calgary theft lawyers

Theft Charge Investigation

An investigation into theft is either initiated by the alleged victim or someone else who witnesses the crime. This person typically makes a report to the police, who may arrive to investigate right away. In some circumstances, the accused may be detained by individuals such as security or loss prevention officers, who would phone the police to report the incident.

The police will arrive and often request a statement from the victim and eye witnesses. Accused persons are often charged quickly, and the police may ask them for a statement at this time. If the accused is not present at the scene when the police arrive, a warrant may be issued for their arrest. An accused will have access to the information obtained through the investigation in the disclosure package provided by the Crown.

Bail Conditions for Theft Charges

If you are released on bail after being charged with Theft, you will be provided certain conditions which you must follow after being released to the public. If you do not follow these conditions, you can be arrested and held in custody pending another bail hearing. Your bail conditions will provide certain restrictions  which you must follow.

Conditions could involve a no contact condition with the alleged victim(s) and a no go condition to the place of the alleged theft or the victim’s property, if those places are not mutually exclusive. Depending on your condition when committing an offence, conditions may limit drug and alcohol use or the possession of firearms and other weapons. More severe conditions can include house arrest or curfew conditions.

calgary theft lawyers

Frequently Asked Questions About Theft

Will a theft charge show on my criminal record while the case is ongoing?

While a theft charge will not show up on a criminal record while a case is ongoing, police databases will show that you have been charged with an offence. A vulnerable sectors check can possible see ongoing charges you have which you have not been convicted of.

Will a theft charge show on my criminal record after the case is done?

Whether a theft charge shows up on your criminal record will depend on the resolution of your case. If you are found not guilty or have your charge resolved in a manner that does not involve a conviction, your matter will not show up on a criminal record. Alternatively, if you do plea guilty, it will show up on your record. Even if you plea not guilty, the police may have a record that you were charged with an offence.

How long does a theft case take?

The length of a theft case will vary depending on the amount of case in court and the complexity of the case. The first step of any theft case is to order disclosure, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Depending on whether you choose to set your matter for trial or resolve before trial will also influence how long your case will take. A broad estimate can be anywhere from three to twelve months.

Can I travel while a theft case is ongoing?

You can likely travel while a theft case is ongoing. Though you are required to appear in court on certain days, your lawyer can do this on your behalf. Unless you have bail conditions limiting your ability to travel, then you should be able to do so freely. However, it is important to note that countries such as the USA will be able to see that a theft case is ongoing, and may not allow you entry into that country

Can I go to jail for theft?

If you are found guilty of theft, you can go to jail. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, a theft over charge carries a maximum sentence of no more than 10 years in jail, while a theft under charge carries a maximum sentence of no more than 5 years in jail. If prosecuted summarily, the maximum punishment is no more than 2 months of incarceration. There is no minimum jail sentence whether the Crown proceeds summarily or by indictment. Therefore, there is a possibility that you can go to jail for a misconduct by officers executing process charge, but it is not guaranteed.

Related Offences 

  • Arson: Arson is an offence involving the dangerous use of fire or explosives. Someone may commit arson while committing theft.
  • Breaking and Entering: breaking and entering involves forcing your way into a place, which a person may do when stealing an item.
  • Fraud: Fraud involves a wide array of acts where another person is defrauding. Fraud may be related to theft if someone steals a credit card and then uses it.
  • Mischief: Mischief is an unlawful interference with the property of another person. One may interfere with property when stealing it.
  • Possession of Stolen Property: A person who steals property during theft may clearly fall under a possession of stolen property offence as well.
  • Robbery: robbery is an extreme version of theft which involves violence or the threat of violence.

Client Reviews

Michael Oykhman is a very professional lawyer and the first time I spoke to him he asked about my situation and he gave me some very helpful advice and assistance and also told me his odds of winning this case. During the days I was in contact with micheal I could feel the level of professionalism of him and his team, he is able to respond back to you with any questions you have within 24 hours. In the end he was as successful in helping me win my case as he had initially promised me.If you are still struggling to find a lawyer, I highly recommend Michael Oykhman.


Please give yourself a favour and contact Mr. Michael Oykhman if you need any legal advice or if you are in a terrible situation. Even-tough, the odds are not in your favour, still they will go extra miles to help you out in bad situation and get you favourable outcome. Moreover, They will work on your file even after the business hours. I don’t have words to say thanks to Mr. Michael oykhman and Kiran Cheema who had worked on my file and get me out of trouble. I’m very grateful for your assistance and exceptional service. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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This law firm is your go-to!

I had the pleasure of working and trusting my case with Joseph Beller. I had 2 counts against me, and in the end, Joseph was able to present and use his “fighter skills” in court to have my charges lowered to a conditional discharge. On top of this, this firm follows its mission values statement by being ethical, transparent, available, and very friendly. Joseph and his team treated me with the utmost respect from start to finish. Thank you again, Joseph! I hope to never call you again 😊


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