A car is stolen in Canada approximately every 3.5 minutes. Given the prevalence of this crime, the criminal justice system treats vehicle theft and related offences very seriously.
What are Stolen Vehicle Offences?
The main offences related to stolen vehicles include:
- Motor vehicle theft
- Taking a motor vehicle without consent
- Possession of a stolen motor vehicle
- Trafficking in stolen vehicles
Motor Vehicle Theft and Taking a Motor Vehicle without Consent
Theft of a motor vehicle is when someone takes a motor vehicle with the intention of keeping it permanently.
Taking a motor vehicle without consent, commonly known as “joyriding”, involves taking a vehicle temporarily. You can be charged with this offence even if you are just a passenger in the vehicle that has been taken without consent.
Possession of a Stolen Vehicle
Possessing a stolen vehicle is an offence regardless of whether or not you were the one who stole the vehicle. Recent amendments to the Criminal Code make it easier to be convicted of this offence. Now, where a vehicle’s identification number has been wholly or partially removed, it will be presumed that the person in possession of the vehicle knew it was stolen. The only way to defeat this presumption is to raise evidence that you were not aware that the vehicle was stolen.
Trafficking in Stolen Vehicles
Trafficking is the selling, transporting, importing or exporting of a stolen vehicle. Trafficking in stolen vehicles is treated very seriously and carries the potential for long terms of imprisonment.
Furthermore, trafficking in association with a criminal organization can lead to a higher sentence and a multitude of additional offences. For example, being part of a trafficking ring can lead to charges for both trafficking and committing an offence for a criminal organization. Each of these offences carry a maximum sentence of 14 years and the sentences imposed for each offence must be served consecutively.
What are the Potential Penalties for a Conviction for a Stolen Vehicle Offence?
Theft of a motor vehicle is a hybrid offence, meaning that the prosecutor can choose to prosecute it as a summary (less serious) or indictable (more serious) offence. The maximum sentence for a summary conviction is 18 months in jail. The maximum sentence for an indictable offence is 10 years. A second or subsequent conviction for motor vehicle theft will lead to a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months.
Taking a vehicle without consent, or “joyriding”, is a summary (less serious) offence punishable by a maximum of 6 months in prison, a fine of $5,000 or both.
The potential sentence for possessing a stolen vehicle depends upon the value of the vehicle. If the vehicle is worth under $5,000, the maximum sentence is 2 years in jail. If the vehicle is worth over $5,000, the maximum sentence is 10 years in jail.
The maximum sentence for trafficking a vehicle worth under $5,000 is 5 years in prison. The maximum sentence for trafficking a vehicle or vehicles worth over $5,000 is 14 years.
How can DUVADIE Law Defend against your Charges for Stolen Vehicle Offences?
If you have been charged with an offence related to a stolen vehicle, DUVADIE Law will vigorously challenge the prosecutor’s evidence and raise all possible defences available to you.
While our first priority is always to obtain an acquittal, in circumstances where this is not possible, we will fight to have your charges reduced so that a conviction will have the most minimal impact possible.
For example, if you are charged with motor vehicle theft, we may be able to present evidence that you had no intention of keeping the vehicle and thereby have the charge reduced to the much less serious offence of taking a vehicle without consent.
If you are charged with trafficking, we will fight any suggestion that you were associated with a gang to ensure that you don’t receive a higher sentence or accrue further charges related to involvement with a criminal organization.
If you have been charged with motor vehicle theft, taking a motor vehicle without consent, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, trafficking in stolen vehicles or any other vehicle-related offences, please call DUVADIE Law at 613-422-1155 or Toll-Free at 1-855-422-1155 to set up your free 30 minute consultation.
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