What You Need to Know About Robbery and Theft Charges in Canada

Robbery and theft are considered serious criminal charges in Canada and usually occur when violence or the threat of violence are used to steal someone else’s property. The consequences for these actions largely depend on the unique circumstance of each case, but will nonetheless be hefty under Canadian law. For example, a mandatory minimum sentence for a robbery charge is around five years for first time offenders. If a weapon was used, it may result in a longer jail or prison sentence. 

An experienced robbery lawyer in Toronto can assist in representing your defence case in court. At Erickson Law, lead lawyer John Erickson is an experienced criminal defence lawyer that has gained extensive legal knowledge from his time working having appeared at all levels of court in Ontario. He has a reliable history of building sound defence cases in connection with a variety of criminal charges. 

If you are facing serious allegations of robbery or theft, contact Erickson Law today to receive fair representation in the courtroom. To give you a better understanding of the process, we will break down the effects of robbery and theft charges in Canada and how we can provide legal assistance for you. 

What is the Difference Between Robbery and Theft? 

The difference between a robbery and a theft charge is if a weapon was used during the initiation of violence towards a person or the threat of violence. A robbery charge carries a more severe penalty than a theft charge because the person may be more affected by the former than the latter. In some cases, the use of an actual weapon is not always necessary to be charged with robbery. Threats of violence can be implied if a person uses a replica weapon in order to rob a store. That person can still be charged with robbery through this strong implication.  

When someone commits theft, it involves stealing someone else’s property or personal possession without their knowledge. In some cases, the victim is not present when the theft occurs, like when someone breaks into an expensive car at night to steal it. 

Meanwhile, robbery usually involves a person using violence or threats to steal from another person. To be convicted of robbery, the violent actions or threats of violence must have taken place before or during the act of theft. Under the current laws, violence is defined as when an individual forcibly assaults a victim to steal something. Additionally, threats of violence fall under a wide range of actions, such as uttering, implying, or demonstrating threats towards another person. 

Without a sound defence by your side, you could face several life-changing consequences if you are charged with robbery or theft.  

What is the Punishment For A Robbery or Theft Charge? 

Robbery is considered a very serious criminal offence in Canada and an extended jail or prison sentence is expected if you are convicted. Even a simple petty theft charge can carry significant consequences for your daily life. 

For robbery convictions generally, a minimum jail sentence is imposed on the perpetrator that can last anywhere from 2 to 3 years roughly. However, there can be a variety of factors and circumstances that may reduce or extend the length of the jail sentence. For example, if a firearm or firearm replica was used during the robbery, an individual can face a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years in jail. Otherwise, the maximum penalty for a robbery charge is life imprisonment. 

Meanwhile, theft charges are a little less severe than a robbery conviction, but can carry significant consequences nonetheless. A person can be charged with theft of stolen property ranging in total value of under or over $5000. Theft of items or property under $5000 is considered an indictable felony offence that can carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison. If the crown prosecution proceeds with a misdemeanor, the maximum punishment can be around 6 months in jail. Moreover, you may also have a permanent criminal record for a theft charge, leading to issues finding employment or travelling abroad. 

The factors that may determine how consequential your punishment for a robbery or theft conviction may include the use of weapons, degree of violence involved, injuries on the victim, and the value of stolen property. 

Are Robbery and Theft Considered Serious Crimes? 

Once again, both robbery and theft charges are considered very serious crimes in Canada and can carry severe consequences if convicted, depending on the circumstances. It’s important to remember not to take a robbery or theft charge lightly, as the possible repercussions can have significant changes on your life. 

To get the legal representation you need in the courtroom, contact John Erickson at Erickson Law today to get detailed assistance during the criminal proceedings and understand the charge you face. We strongly take into consideration the wishes of every one of our clients and operate with careful diligence and discretion when necessary. Call us now at (416)­ 363-­3612 if you are facing robbery or theft charges and are in need of legal assistance.