Theft & Property Offences
With over 50 years of criminal law experience, and having successfully defended thousands of cases, the lawyers at Filkow Law are well-known for their superior legal skills and abilities and for the exceptional results they achieve. This area of expertise expands to a variety of property offences, in which the lawyers at Filkow Law have years of knowledge and experience at their disposal. The counsel at Filkow Law are the leading criminal lawyers in Vancouver.
Mischief is the deliberate or reckless damage to or interference with the property of another person. The offence encompasses a wide range of conduct:
- keying a vehicle;
- puncturing tires;
- throwing rocks;
- ripping clothing;
- deleting or altering text messages;
- deleting or altering photographs or videos;
- hitting a phone out of another’s hand;
- pouring a liquid on an electronic device;
- setting off a fire alarm;
- tampering with food;
- carving initials into a tree or wall;
- using marker on a bus or train window;
- breaking a door or window;
- spray painting a building or statue;
- placing stickers or signs on a building or statue;
- interfering with the lawful provision of abortions; and
- interfering with the lawful provision of vaccines.
Public mischief is a separate type of mischief that does not include property damage. Any person who misleads the police to have them enter an investigation commits public mischief. For example, making a false report to 911 is public mischief.
Theft is taking the property of another without consent and with an intent to deprive the owner of the value or use of that thing. Theft includes the theft of services, such as internet, phone, gas, electricity, and cable. Some examples include:
- theft from an employer;
- theft of a credit card;
- theft of identity documents;
- theft of a computer password;
- theft of computer data;
- theft from a trust; and
- motor vehicle theft.
Theft cannot be committed accidentally; it requires an intent to deprive the owner. For example, if Mr. Jones receives an unexpected and mistaken deposit from his bank, then Mr. Jones has not committed theft. If Mr. Jones learns that the money does not belong to him and Mr. Jones decides to keep or spend the money anyway, then Mr. Jones has committed theft.
Fraud is an intentional and false representation of a matter of fact in order to secure a benefit or to materially damage another person. Fraud can affect legal rights and relationships as well as money and property, such as the change of a beneficiary of a will or a trust. There are many varieties of fraud:
- insurance fraud;
- tax fraud;
- employer fraud;
- real estate fraud;
- identity fraud;
- charity fraud;
- medical fraud;
- bank fraud;
- credit card fraud;
- debit card fraud;
- immigration fraud;
- collection fraud;
- lottery fraud;
- pension fraud;
- auction fraud;
- overpayment fraud;
- cryptocurrency fraud;
- Employment Insurance (EI) fraud;
- Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) fraud;
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) fraud; and
- vaccine fraud.
Fraud does not need to result in an actual loss to another person; putting the financial interest of another person at risk is sufficient. For example, suppose Mr. Jones lies about his income and assets in order to obtain a loan from a bank. Mr. Jones pays the entire loan back and the bank suffers no loss. Mr. Jones could still be convicted of fraud because his lie put the financial interest of the bank at a greater risk than they would have accepted.
Break and Enter
Breaking-and-entering is to break and enter into a premise with the intent to commit a further offence. “Breaking” does not require actual breaking. Moving a latch or unlocking a door is breaking. In contrast, entering through an open door or staying in a store after closing is not breaking.
The most common places for break and enter are commercial properties and private residences. Other places include fenced off areas, trailers and tents. Breaking and entering does not include a motor vehicle unless the accused person intended to steal a firearm.
A person’s intent to commit a further offence is presumed from the fact that the person broke into and entered a place. To rebut this presumption, the accused person must provide some evidence to the contrary, such as a reasonable explanation. The fact that no further offence was committed is not evidence to the contrary.
Robbery is the unlawful taking of another person’s property by force or the threat of force. Robbery is different from theft by virtue of the violence involved. For example, if Mr. Jones takes Mr. Smith’s water bottle intentionally and without Mr. Smith’s consent, then he has committed theft. If Mr. Jones takes Mr. Smith’s water bottle by threatening to hurt Mr. Smith, then Mr. Jones has committed robbery.
Proceeds of Crime
Proceeds of crime refers to anything of value obtained by an indictable offence in Canada. An “indictable offence” typically means theft, fraud and trafficking controlled substances. Proceeds of crime can include:
- precious metals;
- foreign currency;
- cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin; and
- non-fungible tokens.
Further, any item purchased with any of the above becomes proceeds of crime. For example, real estate or luxury vehicles purchased with income obtained from illegal activity are proceeds of crime.
Unlike criminal offences, civil forfeiture is a civil and administrative process enacted by the provincial legislature allowing the Minister of Justice to appoint a Director of Civil Forfeiture to confiscate and forfeit anything that is (a) the suspected proceeds of unlawful activity or (b) a suspected instrument of unlawful activity. Civil forfeiture actions proceed in civil court and are based on various forms of unlawful activity:
- possession of a controlled substance;
- possession for the purpose of trafficking a controlled substance;
- trafficking a controlled substance;
- importing or exporting a controlled substance;
- possession of the proceeds of crime;
- laundering the proceeds of crime;
- unauthorized gaming (e.g., lotteries, casinos, and sports betting);
- failing to declare taxable income; or
- failing to comply with a provincial health order.
Proceeds of unlawful activity include anything of value, but is often currencies, motor vehicles and real property. Instruments of unlawful activity include anything used as part of an unlawful activity, such as motor vehicles that are used to sell or transport drugs, or real property that is alleged to store or manufacture drugs.
The lawyers at Filkow Law have frequently successfully argued for the exclusion of drugs and other evidence, winning in very difficult cases. The firm brings its impressive resources and employs a variety of strategies to each individual case. If you are being investigated or have been charged with a drug or money offence, contact our office for assistance.
If you need legal assistance, give us a call or simply text us your police, court or driving documents to our respective text line.