Understanding Car Theft Penalties in Canada

In this blog post, we aim to provide a clear overview of car theft penalties in Canada, helping you understand the potential legal ramifications and the importance of seeking legal guidance if you find yourself facing charges related to auto theft.

Car Theft Defined

Car theft, also known as auto theft or motor vehicle theft, occurs when an individual takes unauthorized control of someone else’s vehicle. In Canada, the Criminal Code addresses various car theft offenses, including:

  • Theft without keys (breaking and entering and then hotwiring the vehicle)
  • Theft with access to keys
  • Opportunistic theft (vehicle was left idling by owner)
  • Carjacking (can involve an assault on the vehicle’s owner)
  • Borrowing a vehicle without permission

Penalties for Car Theft in Ontario

The possible penalties for car theft in Canada depend on whether the Crown chooses to proceed by summary conviction or by indictment.

If the Crown proceeds on summary conviction, a person could be sentenced to jail for a maximum of 18 months. Otherwise, the person may face a fine as part of their sentence, with the amount varying based on the severity of the offence and the court’s discretion. The court may also impose probation, during which time the person would be required to follow specific conditions, such as regularly reporting to a probation officer.

If the Crown proceeds by indictment, the penalties for car theft can be much more serious. A person could be sentenced to jail for a maximum of 10 years, and would be sentenced to a minimum of 6 months in jail. A person could likewise be given a fine or probation as part of their sentence.

The value of the stolen vehicle is not considered when determining the penalty for car theft.

Seeking Legal Representation

If you are facing car theft charges in Ontario, it’s crucial to seek legal representation promptly. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can assess the details of your case, challenge the evidence against you, and advocate for the best possible outcome. Early intervention by a legal professional can make a significant difference in building a strong defense.

Understanding the potential penalties for car theft in Ontario is essential for individuals navigating the legal system. At Collett Read LLP, we are committed to providing expert legal guidance to those facing car theft charges. If you or someone you know is dealing with legal issues related to auto theft, contact us at (905) 541-2228 or fill out a form for a consultation.

Collett Read LLP