What a Theft Charge Can Mean for Your Life and How to Best Deal with It
Have you recently been charged with theft? Do you currently find yourself in a turmoil of stress and uncertainty wondering how your charge will affect your life right now and in the future? It’s only natural to be feeling these kinds of emotions, worries, and concerns, but sometimes the best way to deal with the feelings is to educate yourself on your charge. Here we’ll take a look at what your first steps should be after a theft charge, how it will realistically affect your future, and what you can do right now to combat the stress you are under.
Speak to a Lawyer Immediately
There should be no hesitation on this first step, the moment you are charged with theft it is imperative that you reach out to a lawyer immediately. Of course you don’t want to hire any old lawyer, you want to be sure you find one that has experienced defending theft charges. Take for example Robb MacDonald, a theft lawyer in Toronto who offers free consultation so you can go ahead and speak to him for free, outline your charge, and hear what his approach to your case would be.
Once you do hire a lawyer, they will most likely be able to calm some of your nerves and worry as they can let you know what to expect during the process and what your outcome will most likely be.
Familiarize Yourself with What a Theft Charge Is
Next it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what a theft charge is, and the different types. This type of crime is broken into two categories. Minor theft of items $5,000 and less can result in a fine of up to $2,000 and a maximum jail penalty of six months. It is still a criminal regardless of whether it is under $5,000.
Should the charge be for theft over $5,000, it becomes much more serious. This charge can result in a prison term of up to 10 years should you be convicted.
What to Expect in the Process
After being charged with the crime of theft, it will then show up on your record anytime a background check is performed on you. It also means that you will be looking at court time in order to answer to your charge. Should you be found guilty of theft, the conviction will then appear on your criminal record - which means you have a criminal record.
What is significant about the charge showing up on your record is that it can ultimately affect your ability to get a job, mortgage, rent an apartment, and even travel outside the country. The moment someone does a background check on you, the criminal record will appear.
How to Deal with a Criminal Record
While securing a theft lawyer right from the start will certainly help your odds of getting a favourable outcome, unfortunately you still may end up being found guilty and have a criminal record. If that’s the case. it’s important not to let the stress get to you too much. Experts agree that the best approach is honesty. Let’s say for example you are trying to get a new job, you are better to be upfront and honest with potential employers about your criminal record than to let them find out on their own. Be honest, take responsibility for your actions, and highlight what you've learned from your experience.
Moving forward your best plan of action should be to stay positive, remain focused, and just ensure that you learn from your mistakes and keep a clean record from this point on.