What Happens When Shoplifting Charges Are Diverted

When police are called in to investigate an incident of suspected shoplifting, they can divert the charges.

In other words, they can give the accused person a warning and tell them that if they admit it and apologize on the spot, they can take part in a Shoplifting Program.

This program is run by the Elizabeth Fry Society and it’s a program which educates the public about the dangers of engaging in shoplifting. It explains the cost and burden that is borne by corporations and business owners with respect to this type of offense.

People who commit shoplifting are thinking from only one perspective. They are thinking, “Oh, it’s a two dollar item,” They don’t realize how shoplifting activity drives up the cost for consumers generally. Because shoplifting is so rampant and widespread, it adds to the price of any consumer item that you go to buy at a store, whether it’s a small store or a large store. The item’s price includes the added cost to prosecute, the added cost to keep it secure, the added cost for security and added staff, and the loss which has to be factored in as well. The Shoplifting Program educates the public about issues that they otherwise would not have been aware of.

The issue, however, is that people end up admitting guilt and apologizing. They don’t consult a lawyer. They have to either trust the police or assert their rights and go to court.

If a shoplifting charge is diverted, there will be no criminal record, but it’s always important to retain a lawyer. The accused needs to determine and understand exactly what is happening and confirm the details of the case at the very least.

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If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Ottawa, Ontario Region, contact Engel and Associates for a consultation.

This article is taken from a October 5, 2007 interview with Bruce Engel, Criminal Lawyer with Engel and Associates, an Ottawa, Ontario Criminal Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.