Theft charges can significantly impact your future. Even misdemeanor shoplifting or petty theft convictions can result in jail time and substantial fines. In addition, a conviction will go on your criminal record, damaging your future prospects for employment and education opportunities.

If you have been charged with stealing, we strongly recommend speaking with a qualified Ontario theft lawyer right away. Fighting these charges effectively takes skilled legal representation. Our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Henry could utilize our thorough command of the law and extensive litigation experience to fight for your rights and protect your future. In hiring our seasoned legal team, you can rest easier knowing you are in good hands.

Types of Theft Charges

Under California Penal Code 484 PC, theft occurs when an individual takes money or property from another individual, defrauds someone out of money or property, unlawfully accesses another individual’s credit, or unlawfully gains access to another person’s money or property. There is a wide range of these crimes, including:

  • Shoplifting
  • Petty theft
  • Identity theft
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Grand theft
  • Grand theft auto
  • Auto burglary
  • Carjacking

One of our Ontario attorneys could prepare a theft defense, depending on the specific charges.


The crime of shoplifting is defined under California Penal Code 459.5 PC as entering a commercial establishment during normal business hours with the specific intent of stealing merchandise worth $950 or less. If the business is closed at the time of entry, the crime of burglary would be charged. If an individual entered the establishment without the intent to steal but then decided to steal merchandise while inside the store, the defendant would be charged with petty theft.

Penalties for a shoplifting conviction include up to six months in jail and substantial fines. However, in some instances, shoplifting can be charged as a felony. Felony convictions carry penalties of up to three in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Some defenses include a lack of intent, insufficient evidence, false accusation, mistaken identity, and police misconduct. Additionally, in some theft cases, it may be possible for a skilled attorney in Ontario to negotiate for the defendant to repay the business if they agree not to pursue prosecution.

What is the Difference Between Robbery and Burglary?

The crimes of robbery and burglary are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably because most people believe they both involve unlawfully taking someone else’s money or property. Although both crimes involve stealing or the intent to steal, the crimes are actually quite different.

Robbery occurs when the perpetrator takes something in possession of another person and uses force or a threat of force to do so. Burglary takes place when a perpetrator enters a structure or dwelling with the intent to steal. A burglary conviction does not require an actual theft to take place. Only the intent to steal needs to be proven.

Legal Defenses to Theft Charges

Theft crimes are aggressively prosecuted, which is why it is crucial to have a skilled Ontario lawyer who can create a solid, case-specific strategy to defend you against these serious charges. An appropriate defense depends on the circumstances of the case but may include:

  • Lack of intent to take the money or property.
  • Lack of sufficient evidence
  • Arguing that the defendant had permission from the owner to take the property.
  • The defendant believed they had the right to take the property.
  • Mistaken identity
  • False accusations

Speak with our Leading Ontario Theft Attorneys

Being convicted of a theft crime can have harsh, long-term consequences, which can put your reputation, freedom, and future at risk. If you have been charged with this type of offense, we strongly advise you to contact our leading Ontario theft lawyers at the Law Offices of Scott Henry for a free case analysis.

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