If you have been charged with any crime, the best way to protect yourself is to hire a criminal defence lawyer to work on your case, and ensure your rights are protected.
Background Of The Offence
People typically steal and commit property crimes, because such crimes are profitable. Particularly in the case of theft of valuables (think jewellery, cars, etc.), there is a market for such goods. There is then conversely, an incentive to purchase stolen goods (they are likely cheaper than items sold on the legitimate market). But also, in the case of goods obtained by fraud, or drug trafficking, there is an incentive to possessing the proceeds of such crimes. As such, there is a separate offence in the Criminal Code, criminalizing the possession of the proceeds of crime. Namely at section 354, which reads:
354 (1) Every one commits an offence who has in his possession any property or thing or any proceeds of any property or thing knowing that all or part of the property or thing or of the proceeds was obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from
(a) the commission in Canada of an offence punishable by indictment; or
(b) an act or omission anywhere that, if it had occurred in Canada, would have constituted an offence punishable by indictment.
Elements Of The Offence
When confronted with the fact that possession of the proceeds of crime is in and of itself a criminal act, often the first reaction is fear of unwittingly purchasing stolen goods. Luckily, there is a mental element to the offence, you must knowingly (or recklessly) be in possession of the goods. Unintentionally possessing the proceeds of crime, would not constitute a criminal act.
Like every crime there is also a physical or “Act” element to the offence, you must actually be in possession of the property (defined as being in your care and control) and the property must have been obtained by a crime punishable by indictment (fraud, theft, etc.).
The maximum sentence for this offence differs depending n the value of the goods. If the goods are worth more than $5000, the offence is punishable by a maximum of 14 years imprisonment, and if the goods are worth less than $5000, the maximum prison sentence is 5 years.
Being charged with a criminal offence can be a stressful, and frightening experience. The best way to protect yourself is to hire a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Mehdi Au LLP has criminal lawyers on staff who can work on your case. We accept private and Legal Aid clients.
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