What is Theft?

Anyone who takes another person’s property without being entitled to do so with an intention to interfere with the other person’s property can be found guilty of theft.

Stealing any type of property including digital information falls under this category. Shoplifting is also charged under this section of the criminal code (334).


The maximum penalty for theft over $5000.00 is imprisonment for 10 years, and the maximum sentence for theft under $5000.00 is imprisonment for two years.

Section 334(b) Criminal Code
The Criminal Code states that a person is guilty of theft when it is proved that s/he took something without a right to it with the purpose of:

depriving the lawful owner of it, or
using it as collateral, or
only returning it to the owner on a condition that the owner cannot fulfil, or
using it in a way in which it cannot be returned to its original condition when the person took it.

What are the Defences to Theft?

There are many ways to defend a charge of theft. One of the main ways is by a person showing that s/he had a right to the property that is alleged to have been stolen. So for an example, if a person takes back property that is rightfully theirs that has been stolen from them, this would not be considered an illegal act.

Additionally being mistaken about certain facts is a defence to this charge. If a person honestly but incorrectly thinks that the property they are taking rightfully belongs to them, this is a defence to this charge. Further, if a person is mistaken of the property they are taking, this would also be a defence.

An example of this would be wearing the wrong winter jacket home after a social gathering. Because the wearer may have never intended to deprive the owner of the property they cannot be found guilty of stealing.

Get in Touch

Lakin Afolabi is a criminal defence lawyer in London, Ontario who has represented hundreds of people charged with theft and other offences. He has had much success in obtaining charge withdrawals for simple thefts, ensuring the accused person does not get a criminal record. If you or someone you know has been charged with theft or any other criminal offence, Lakin Afolabi is an experienced lawyer who can assist you. Call him now.

Lakin Afolabi LPC blog material is screened for authenticity as of the date of posting and accurately reflects the law to the best of our knowledge. Because the nature of the legal landscape is ever-changing we do not guarantee the future accuracy or completeness of this blog material past the date of posting. This material is not a replacement for advice received from our team of legal professionals. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk.