Auto Theft

Auto Theft Criminal Defence Lawyers Toronto

auto theft penalty ontarioMotor vehicle or auto theft is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle. Motor vehicles include: automobiles, trucks, buses, coach, motorcycle, snowmobile and trailer.

Auto theft is a growing and lucrative business and crosses all boundaries of criminals from petty break & enters to grand theft auto, so prosecutors are looking to make examples out of anyone charged with this crime, with maximum penalties, to deter potential criminals.

With the complexity of the auto & insurance industries working with government & law enforcement to crack down on motor vehicle theft, it is vital, if you have been charged with this crime, to retain a lawyer with advanced experience in this area to make sure you are treated fairly by the justice system and your rights are protected, especially if anyone was injured during the alleged incident.

Including health care, insurance costs, court costs and legal fees Auto theft costs Canadians about $1 billion per year. In Canada alone, a vehicle is stolen every 3 ½ minutes (about 420/day), roughly 40 Canadians lose their lives each year and about 65 are injured as a direct result of auto theft, which means this is a big deal for the industries trying to stamp it out.

Have You or A Loved One Been Charged with Auto Theft in Toronto?

auto theft penalties

Theft of a motor vehicle includes the following:

  • Theft without keys; break and enter and hotwiring vehicle
  • Theft with access to keys (child or owner or employee of a company)
  • Opportunistic theft – vehicle left idling for a short period by owner
  • Carjacking – sometimes this involves assault on the owner or passengers
  • Fraudulent theft – as in a situation of identity theft
  • Borrowing a vehicle without permission

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is working with many Police forces across Canada to recover stolen vehicles by implementing the AutoFind Program. This program uses license plate scanning of vehicles parked on the street or abandoned in parking lots and compares them to a list of stolen vehicles. If a match is found, the car is confirmed stolen, and the police then take possession of the vehicle and return it to the owner.

The AutoFind program is currently being used in Laval, Toronto, Hamilton & Edmonton to prevent auto theft . On average about 70% of the stolen vehicles recovered by AutoFind have been found within 14 days of the vehicle being reported stolen.

Auto Theft Penalty in Ontario

Canadian Criminal Code for Motor vehicle theft states:

333.1 (1) everyone who commits auto theft is, if the property stolen is a motor vehicle, guilty of an offence and liable

(a) on proceedings by way of indictment, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years, and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months in the case of a third or subsequent offence under this subsection; or
(b) On summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months.

Canadian Criminal Code for Offences Resembling Theft states:

Taking motor vehicle or vessel or found therein without consent

335. (1) Subject to subsection (1.1), everyone who, without the consent of the owner, takes a motor vehicle or vessel with intent to drive, use, navigate or operate it or cause it to be driven, used, navigated or operated, or is an occupant of a motor vehicle or vessel knowing that it was taken without the consent of the owner, is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.


(1.1) Subsection (1) does not apply to an occupant of a motor vehicle or vessel who, on becoming aware that it was taken without the consent of the owner, attempted to leave the motor vehicle or vessel, to the extent that it was feasible to do so, or actually left the motor vehicle or vessel.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a criminal offence involving auto theft then you need a an experienced criminal lawyer. Bruce Karten and Stephen Hebscher offer a combined 60+ years of experience with a high rate of successful outcomes. See what our other clients are saying about us. We can help you too! Call us today for your free confidential consultation.

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