What Is Shoplifting?

There is no particular offence within the Criminal Code called “shoplifting.”

Shoplifting is theft and all thefts within the Criminal Code are categorized as either thefts under $5000 or thefts over $5000. That cut off amount separates the less serious summary or hybrid offences from the more serious indictable offences. Shoplifting is a theft under $5000, although not all thefts under $5000 are shoplifting. As one can imagine, if you stole an item that’s worth $3000, $4000 or even just barely under $5000, the Crown Attorney is not going to treat that as a shoplifting offence. You can’t walk into a used car dealership and drive off with a car and expect this to be treated as shoplifting.

There is no particular figure that is the cut off for shoplifting, but what we very commonly see are items ranging from literally just a few dollars up to items ranging from $200 or $300. Once you start pushing the boundary and the item is worth $400, $500, or $600, you are probably out of the range of what the Crown Attorney would consider to be a simple shoplifting case. Where the allegation is theft of $500 or more, you definitely should be hiring a lawyer because you are probably facing a situation where the Crown and the Court are going to treat that as a more traditional theft rather than a shoplifting charge.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Toronto,Ontario Region, contact Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman for a consultation.

This information is taken from an interview from November 29, 2007 with Ed Prutschi, Criminal Lawyer with Adler Bytensky Prutschi Shikhman, Toronto Criminal Lawyers. The article is provided as an information service only and should not be used as legal advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction so please consult with an appropriate legal professional if you are looking for help with a specific situation.