It can seem harmless enough. No one gets hurt in a theft. At least not physically. You’ve done it before and you got away with it. You know how to get around the security and you need the money. And, after all, how long does a criminal record last for theft anyway? Especially for something like theft under $5000. Can’t be that long? Can it?
Yes, it can. It can be a lifetime.
This is how long a criminal record lasts for theft in Canada
In trying to justify the execution of a crime, people can start telling themselves things that may or may not be true. In trying to find reasons why things will work out, you can get some things confused. Like the nature of criminal charges and the criminal record that follows a conviction.
Criminal charges, and the sentences you may have to serve, vary based on the seriousness of the crime. Of course, without extenuating circumstances, the sentence for being convicted of murder will be much more serious than the sentence for a theft conviction.
Even within certain criminal offense categories, like theft, sentences can vary widely. The sentence for a theft under $5000 conviction will be substantially less than that for another form of theft like robbery.
But there is one consequence of being convicted of a criminal act that lasts for the same amount of time regardless of the seriousness of the crime.
In Canada, if you don’t get a criminal record suspension, your criminal conviction will be on your record for life. For a theft under $5000 convictions: life. For an armed robbery conviction: life.
That means you’ll have to endure all the difficulties of having a criminal record for the rest of your life, including difficulty in being allowed to travel outside the country, difficulty in finding a job, even difficulty in going back to school.
That’s why, if you’ve been charged with theft, you need expert legal advice and representation that specializes in fighting theft charges to minimize the impact of the charges on your record, and your life.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent post about what to do when you’re accused of fraud.