The Charge

This offence is more commonly known as “possession of stolen property” or “PSP”.

There are two subcategories of this offence:

  • Possession of property whose value is more than $5000.
  • Possession of property whose value is under $5000.

The components of this charge are as follows:

  • Possession
  • Of property
  • That was obtained by the commission of a crime in Canada
  • The person possessing the property must know that it was obtained by the commission of that crime

The term “possession” is very broad, and can be proven in many ways. It is not limited to physically haven an item on your person. The legal definition of possession includes:

  • Knowingly keeping the property in the possession of another person;
  • Knowingly keeping the property in a certain place for the use or benefit of yourself or others;
  • Knowing and consenting to another person having it in their possession.


If you have a prior related criminal record, it can be very difficult to obtain bail without a lawyer. This is because the prosecution may suggest, and the judge may accept, that your motive to profit from trafficking in stolen property overwhelms your ability to behave yourself while on release. Calgary Criminal Lawyers can counter this suggestion, and work to ensure that you are not deprived of reasonable bail.

The Defence

The prosecutor may rely on a wide number of unusual and complicated legal principles to try to prove you had the necessary knowledge that the items were stolen, like “wilful blindness” and “the doctrine of recent possession”.

Resolving the issues of whether or not you had “knowledge” and “possession” requires skilful legal argument and ensuring all favorable evidence comes to light. Let Calgary Criminal Lawyers make those arguments for you. In preparing your case, we will review all the evidence in the possession of the police with you, and focus our review on the following key issues:

  • Does the prosecution have enough evidence to prove you knew the property was obtained by a crime?
  • Can the Crown prove that the property was stolen?
  • Did you believe you had a lawful right to possess the property?
  • Can the Crown prove that you were in possession of the property?

The Sentence

A finding of guilt of possession of stolen property brings the potential for jail time.

If the value of the property is over $5000, an offender is liable to go to jail for up to ten years. He can also be placed under the supervision of a probation order for a maximum of three years, and/or fined several thousand dollars.

If the value of the property is under $5000, the maximum jail sentence is two years. You can also be fined and placed on probation.

The punishment goes beyond jail, probation, or fines. A conviction for this offence can carry with it a reputation that you are a dishonest person who cannot be trusted, and make it difficult to obtain or keep a job in an area where you are required to handle or possess money or valuable property.

Let Calgary Criminal Lawyers assist you at the sentencing stage. Depending on the circumstances of your case, and you desired outcome, we may be able to secure one of the following resolutions: out-of-court diversion; a plea to a less charge; or an order allowing you to serve any jail sentence you receive in your own home.