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Stiffer Penalties Possible for Auto Thefts

The Province of Ontario will look to bring stiffer penalties to combat the rise in auto thefts.

ONTARIO - Those caught stealing vehicles will start seeing stiffer penalties.

The Ontario government is introducing legislation that would suspend driver's licences for those convicted of the crime. The new penalties are in response to the rise in auto thefts and carjackings that have been taking place in the province. The government hopes the legislation will deter those thinking of stealing a vehicle, and make it more challenging for criminals to re-offend.

In the proposed legislation, the first offence for vehicle theft under the Criminal Code would be a 10-year licence suspension, a second offence would turn into a 15-year suspension, and a third offence would have the person's licence suspended for life. For the suspensions, they would apply when the court finds the person guilty and aggravating factors were used, which includes violence, use of a weapon, use of force, threat, or pursuit of financial gain.

The government is also looking to crack down on stunt driving. The legislation states a minimum mandatory licence suspension, which would be one year for a first conviction, three years for a second conviction, and a lifetime suspension, which could be knocked down to 10 years if certain criteria are met for a third conviction.

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