Sometimes persons of otherwise impeccable character steal something once during their life, especially at a time of emotional or financial stress. If you are charged with shoplifting (theft under), possession of stolen property (goods from another store), or price tag switching (fraud under), you should feel no shame in retaining the services of a lawyer to defend you.
If you are guilty, you may be eligible for a program in British Columbia known as diversion or alternative measures. Persons charged with shoplifting related offences who have no previous criminal record and who have taken items of small value may be permitted to attend a special program where they listen to speakers, watch videos, and perhaps work in the community in exchange for a stay or withdrawal of the criminal charge.
If the charge is withdrawn there will be no criminal record of a finding of guilt or a conviction although there will be documentation kept by the police and the courts related to the withdrawal itself. In some jurisdictions you may be able to request the purging or destruction of such records after one year.
If you are not guilty (e.g. store security apprehended the wrong person or you inadvertently walked out of the store with goods in your hands to retrieve a wayward child) you should defend the charge. If the Crown proves its case and the court does not believe you, however, you may face a finding of guilt and perhaps a conviction, fine, and probation.
Whether you are guilty or not guilty you should consult an experienced criminal law lawyer who knows the local Crowns, judges, and programs available. The cost may vary. In my office guilty pleas and diversion applications start from $500 depending upon how much negotiation is required. Trials cost about $500.00 up to and including the first scheduled trial date. Disbursements and additional court dates are extra.
If you have any questions please contact Mr. Taylor directly by phone toll-free at 1-877-753-9180 at any time.