Why You Should See A Lawyer If You Are Charged With Shoplifting

You should always hire a lawyer, regardless of how small an item you may have taken, because the lawyer is the only one who is really on your side.

If you are accused of taking small items less than $100, and you have never been charged before and don’t have a criminal record, you will typically be offered what is called a diversion program.

In a diversion program, you accept responsibility for what you have done. You don’t ever admit guilt but you do sign a document taking responsibility for what you have done. If you make a charitable donation or do some community service, then the charges may be withdrawn. A lawyer can help negotiate towards a diversion. Sometimes the Crown has a limit after which they won’t offer diversions. It may be $100 or it may be $400, and the benefit of having a lawyer at that point is that your lawyer may have developed a relationship with the Crown Attorney and can convince them to offer diversion where under other circumstances, if you appeared without a lawyer, the Crown may not necessarily be agreeable.

Even if diversion is not an option, it’s important to have the advice of a lawyer because your lawyer is the one who will steer you through the process.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Oshawa, Ontario Region, contact Mitch Engel Barrister & Solicitor for a consultation.

This article is taken from a April 11, 2008 interview with Mitch Engel, Criminal Lawyer with Mitch Engel Barristers Solicitors, Oshawa, 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.