Canadian Criminal Sentencing/Offences/Theft Under $5,000

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s. 322 of the Crim. Code
Election / Plea
Crown Election Hybrid (Under)
Indictable (Over)
Summary Dispositions
Maximum 6 months jail or $5,000 fine (<=$5,000)
Indictable Dispositions
Maximum 10 years (over $5,000)
2 years (<= $5,000)
Offence Elements
Sentence Principles
Sentence Digests


334. Except where otherwise provided by law, every one who commits theft

(b) is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction,

where the value of what is stolen does not exceed five thousand dollars.



A common offence in most provincial courts. The range of sentences for low end offences range from discharges for first time offenders, fines ($100 to 400), suspended sentence with probation, or short and sharp periods of imprisonment where there is a prior related criminal record.[1]

  1. e.g. see R. v. Prowse 1998 CanLII 18024 (NL CA), (1998)
    R. v. C.C., [2012] N.J. No. 121 (P.C.)
    R. v. Reid, [2012] N.J. No. 164 (P.C.)

Employee Theft[edit]

The goals of denunciation and deterrence require that absent exceptional circumstances, the sentence should include imprisonment. [1]

  1. R v Fulcher, 2007 ABCA 381 at para 30 ("[A]bsent truly exceptional circumstances, the sentencing goals of deterrence and denunciation demand a sentence of imprisonment rather than the imposition of a conditional sentence for crimes of embezzlement or theft by an employee.")


Aggravating Factors

  • criminal record for similar offences
  • breach of trust
  • lack of recovery of items
  • inability to compensate owner

Other Factors

  • history of alcohol or substance abuse

See Also[edit]