Possible sentences for shoplifting and robbery

In Quebec, the Criminal Code establishes several specific types of theft. In a legal sense, theft means voluntarily taking something that belongs to someone else without having the right to do so. Therefore, you can be accused of theft even if you don’t leave the premises with the stolen property or you only leave temporarily and even if the stolen property is of little or no value.

Based on this definition, we can imagine various types of behaviors that might constitute theft. The gravity of these offenses can vary greatly and play a definitive role in the penalty incurred.

What exactly are the penalties for shoplifting and robbery? You’re better off knowing!

Shoplifting, an act that’s far from innocuous

An exception to the rule, shoplifting isn’t envisaged as such in the Criminal Code. Nevertheless, it’s a serious accusation that can entail significant repercussions.

Shoplifting is defined in accordance with the following criteria:

  • It’s committed in a store, business, shopping center, mall, etc.
  • The perpetrator has no employment relationship with the victim.
  • The perpetrator takes the property without resorting to violence.
  • The accused was in the target location legally.

Another characteristic of shoplifting is that the value of the stolen property is often low (less than $5,000) from a legal standpoint.

As simple as an accusation of shoplifting may seem, the consequences can range from a mark on your criminal record to a more serious sentence, such as probation, a fine or a maximum of two years’ imprisonment!

In light of these facts, it’s easy to understand why it’s important to turn to a criminal lawyer. An attorney will always try to get an acquittal, an out-of-court settlement or a dismissal in order to prevent an offense from appearing on your criminal record. Also, bear in mind that sentencing comes at the end of a legal proceeding that can last from two months to a year.

Robbery, the most serious accusation

At the other end of the spectrum is robbery, which is the most serious type of theft envisaged in the Criminal Code. Four criteria apply to robbery:

  • The use of violence or the threat of violence. In other words, a robbery doesn’t necessarily involve a weapon. Committing violent acts or simply making threats can qualify a theft as a robbery.
  • Acts of violence against the victim, either before or after the theft.
  • Assault with the intent to steal.
  • The use of a weapon, even a fake one. In the eyes of criminal law, a weapon can take many different forms. Firearms immediately come to mind; however, any object used to threaten, injure or kill constitutes a weapon.

With regard to the penalties incurred, imprisonment can range from a minimum of four years all the way to a life sentence.

Various factors can come into play, resulting in a lighter or heavier sentence. These include the following:

  • The gravity of the offense
  • The legal history of the accused
  • The accused’s level of responsibility
  • Any attenuating or aggravating circumstances

Once again, it’s best to call on the services of a criminal lawyer, who can help present these elements in favor of the accused in an effort to get a reduced sentence.

If you or a loved one has been implicated in a case of shoplifting or robbery, you should be aware that the law offices of criminal lawyer Martine Thibodeau specialize in criminal offenses. Don’t hesitate to contact them so you can build a solid case and benefit from an organized, compelling defense.


JuriGo.ca. How much jail time do you face for theft? Qualified/Simple theft or shoplifting! 2022.
Éducaloi. Le vol et le recel [Theft and fencing]. 2022.

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