Theft Under $5,000 - Paralegal in Oshawa, Toronto, York Region, Peterborough, and Lindsay

Theft Not Exceeding $5,000 - Section 334(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada

Definition of Theft Not Exceeding $5,000

Section 334(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines theft not exceeding $5,000 as:

Except where otherwise provided by law, every one who commits theft
(b) if the value of what is stolen is not more than $5,000, is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

The Code defines the act of theft through various sections, for instance section 322 and section 326.

The charge of theft not exceeding $5,000 is a hybrid offence, this means that the Crown may proceed either by indictment or summarily.

Interpretation of the Offence

Theft is a Mens Rea offence, this means the Crown must prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. However, certain things will constitute intent. For instance, putting your hand in someone else's pocket is intent, whether the pocket is empty or not. Shoplifting is established without the offender leaving the store, but the offender must have intended to convert the item.

Elements of the Offence of Theft Not Exceeding $5,000

The elements that must exist to get a conviction involve possession of the item (or illegal use of in the case of a service), the culprit must have taken it from the legal owner, and intent.


Sentencing provisions include a term of not more than 2 years by indictment for the first offence. This changes to 2 years less a day and/or a $5,000 fine for summary convictions. Further sentences include discharges, probation, and fine. Something to remember is the impact on society that the crime has, and how the sentencing will affect that.


The best defence in this case, as usual, is a good offence. It is not your job to prove your innocence, it is the job of the Crown to prove your guilt. Until they have been able to prove their case against you, there is nothing you need to do, except break down their case against you. Understanding how to do this isn't easy, and is best handled by a professional, someone who understands the elements and how to break down the Crown's case. It is important to remember that you do have rights.

If you are charged with theft not exceeding $5,000, it is best to contact a a lawyer or paralegal, depending on whether the Crown has elected to proceed by indictment or not. Paralegals may provide legal services in summary offences only.

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Wherever there is a human being, I see God-given rights inherent in that being, whatever may be the sex or complexion.
William Lloyd Garrison, In his Life, Volume III, p. 390.