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    Katie Teacher's Avatar
    Katie Teacher Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jul 5, 2009, 11:44 PM
    Theft under $5000 in Ontario - diversion, police records check vs. criminal record!
    Hi Everyone,

    My situation is unique in that I am a member of a PROFESSION that requires a police records check and Criminal Records Check. I am also up for a government job and don't know if they've already checked my record or not. Either way, I'm looking at losing work and feel FULLY screwed. Please read the entire note - I apologize in advance for it's length, but you may be able to point out some important points I'm missing in the details.

    I am a teacher in Ontario Canada and I find myself in a horrible bind and hope you can hear me out and at least point me in the right direction. I haven't told ANYONE much less my family, so PLEASE respond to me. Here's what happened:

    I am now a teacher although not working at present due to the TDSB and other boards simply not hiring. I can't believe this but... I have been charged with theft under $5000. It just happened Friday night and I have not slept since. My family is unaware and they are concerned about my mental health as I am obviously behaving in an anxious and agitated manner.

    I was at my local LCBO and was distracted by my cell phone ringing in my purse. (It wasn't even mine, but my Mom's I'd borrowed for the day - I don't own one!) My hands full and sunglasses falling off my head, I put the phone and my glasses back in my purse - but it was the phone and a small bottle of vodka that I had been considering before the call! I proceeded to the checkout with a bottle of white wine I had chosen and also put down during the call, forgetting all about the vodka.

    I paid and began to leave, chatting with fellow customers and even the security guard on the way out! NOT the behaviour of a thief! I never knew what hit me until a plain clothes security guard stopped me at the door and identified himself as store security. The plain-clothes guard opened my bag (a beach-type canvas bag) and I saw the bottle of vodka (a 350ml one I believe). It was then that I was told I was under ARREST (!) and I was HANDCUFFED by the uniformed guard I'd chatted with (he commented he "double-locked" them - so tight it left marks!). They led me to the back room. I was SO confused as to how it got there.

    Even the plain-clothes officer told me I wasn't behaving like a typical thief as I was crying profusely - so confused! Yet he STILL called the police! During the wait, he asked me what happened and I retraced my steps, realizing what had happened. I was horrified. It was OBVIOUSLY a horrible mistake! I was actually relieved when the police got there as I thought the whole thing would be explained, yet the policewoman was BRUTAL!

    She began by asking me, "So, what's your excuse?!" I can't recall if she told me I was under arrest before she started asking me questions, but CERTAINLY not before she asked her opening question. She told me I was guilty because she's a woman and as a woman, she knows she'd take a basket at the entry instead of putting items in her purse. I didn't take a basket because I came in for a SINGLE item. I didn't INTEND to put the item in my purse but had forgotten I was even considering it in store. When I went to the check out with my wine the wine was IN MY HAND, not my bag! She even opened the phone, pressing buttons to confirm the call I'd received! I was asked every question in the book! I remained cuffed, my hands behind my back for the better part of 45 minutes. Was this really necessary?

    Bottom line: I AM TERRIFIED! I cannot sleep, eat, or function. I do not know where to turn! As a teacher, I am subject to a police records check. Even if I'm exonerated, I may have a record of "contact" with the police on my record that will discourage my hire! I am also being seriously considered for a Federal Gov't position right now that requires a "reliability check", so such a pending charge, or record, would prevent my hire most likely! Basically, guilty or not, I'm looking at NO WORK for a year PLUS the time it takes for the trial/court process to conclude!

    Here is the crux of my question to you: as a first-time offender, I am eligible for "Diversion", yet I donít want to plead guilty on the principle that I did not INTEND to steal! It was an honest mistake while I was distracted!

    Personally, I am in the process of coming off PAXIL and don't know if I can handle trial. Furthermore, my friend tells me that coming off these anti-depressants can cause confusion, bad judgement and even suicidal breaks! Did this contribute to the situation? I am under SO much stress in my personal life AND trying to get work. Would my Dr. be able to be of assistance here? Affidavit, etc.?

    I read that even if I take diversion and am left WITHOUT a criminal record, that a POLICE RECORDS CHECK will show "POSITIVE" for at LEAST a year (until I request the record deleted). Schools ALWAYS request police records check for the teachers!

    Therefore, #1: Do I try to disprove INTENT and risk conviction if EITHER way, I will now be unable to work for a year? Can I request my record immediately deleted in the case of either diversion OR a not-guilty verdict? Do I NEED to plead GUILTY in order to qualify for the diversion program? Should I just plead guilty and take diversion to get the one year under my belt and back to work as soon as possible? Would it be advisable to represent myself in whole or in part? It is ALL SO UNFAIR! Either way, I plan to file a complaint on the policewoman as she was laughing as I searched fruitfully for my ID she'd taken and I believe, went above and beyond to be BRUTAL.

    Funny enough, when I went to leave and couldn't find my keys, I asked the uniformed guard if he still had them. He apologized profusely and took them out of his pocket, saying he forgot he had them. I said, "That's OK. People make mistakes". I didn't realize the irony of my comment until afterwards. He just DEMONSTRATED how easy it is to make such an oversight! So is he BETTER THAN ME because he's in a uniform and an authority?

    I am of limited means, but I wanted to know how much it would cost for a lawyer (ballpark) Perhaps you could even suggest someone to me who does pro-bono work or would take me on for a flat fee? Considering what I've told you, how do you think I should proceed? Either way I want to file a complaint on the female officer as she was TOTALLY unprofessional and unnecessarily cruel - am I not assumed innocent until proven guilty under the Charter of Rights? Didn't the plain-clothes security guard exercise poor judgement as I was acting uncharacteristically innocent?

    I am MORTIFIED! Please respond to my question.

    I thank you ALL so much, and await your response,

    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,800, Reputation: 2674

    Jul 6, 2009, 05:00 AM

    Katie, you have to calm down, think rationally, which you are not doing and stop assuming the worst case scenario.

    You were caught with a bottle of vodka in your carry-all, walking out of the store. It doesn't matter your intentions, non intentions at the time, someone saw you put it in your bag. No matter what you think, its what they think and you can't change any of it.

    If it is truly your first offence and the dollar value was so little, you will go in front of a judge, but it won't be a trial, pers se. Doctor's affadavit will not do any good. File a complaint on the officer, it will not get your any further then you have already gone.

    Maybe the judge will be lenient, if the arresting officer doesn't show up in court, then that is all the better for you.

    emery's Avatar
    emery Posts: 92, Reputation: 2
    Junior Member

    Jul 6, 2009, 07:00 AM

    Katie, I believe you will most likely qualify for the diversion program which means the charges will most likely be dropped altogether.
    jules510's Avatar
    jules510 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Oct 30, 2010, 11:10 PM
    I wouldn't get too stressed about it! However, I can relate to why you're in a panic situation... there's a lot on the line for you. A similar thing happened to me when I was younger. It was my first offense and the judge threw it out. I didn't even needs a lawyer, but it won't hurt to get one. Send out a blast to lawyers advertising on Criag's list or Kijiji. Sometimes you will have a new lawyers hoping to build a portfolio that will do it for a flat rate. I would fight to ensure that it doesn't stick. So I would opt for hiring a lawyer to reinforce that nothing lingers after all is said and done. Only if you're convicted is when the charges will show up on public records. My advice to you is to retain a lawyer.
    suecanada's Avatar
    suecanada Posts: 16, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 26, 2011, 02:03 PM

    Can you tell me what happened?
    With regards to your job and the criminal check? Thank you!
    tickle's Avatar
    tickle Posts: 23,800, Reputation: 2674

    Apr 26, 2011, 02:18 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by suecanada View Post
    Can you tell me what happened?
    With regards to your job and the criminal check? Thank you !!
    I don't especially like your name, 'suecanada'; but you probably have a good reason for it.

    Better check your post dates cause this is an old one and the OP hasn't been back for a long time.

    If you have experience with Canadian law, though, you input here would come in handy, on some current posts. You have to check the new posts, suecanada.


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