In a hypothetical scenario, everytime in the past, when Mr. Peter went from city A to a city B on a road C, his car got stolen about in the middle of the road C. It happened say 100 times. There are only options roads C and D and to use a road D one has to steal a car. There are no indications of anyone having an intention to steal his car on the road C, there is only the 100 cases in which such a robbery took place everytime he went on the road C. Can Mr. Peter steal a car to use a different road D to get from A to B, in order to prevent another car theft on the road C from happening? Thank you.

  • This is a really weirdly contrived scenario, which I think is why it’s being poorly received. Under what circumstances would it be necessary to steal a car in order to drive your own (different) car on a particular road?
    – Sneftel
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:33
  • I am using a certain type of analogy. I prefer not to share the real story. Basicly my question is, can one commit a crime to protect oneself, if there is no proof of intention of someone else to commit a crime, but there is only 100 such events in the past.
    – Jankoo
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:36
  • 2
    But you’re not protecting yourself. Simply not driving from A to B would also prevent your car from being stolen. This would be the case even if there were someone standing in the road C holding a sign saying “I am definitely going to steal your car”. The question of proof isn’t important.
    – Sneftel
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:37
  • Yes, not driving prevents the crime too. But not driving is not an option. Mr. Peter needs to get to point B.
    – Jankoo
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:40
  • No, he doesn't need to go point B. He can choose not to go and accept whatever consequences that may entail. A need in itself does not justify a crime but a strong enough need may mitigate punishment or even the perpetrator free. However this will depend A LOT on what the exact need is.
    – Hilmar
    Feb 25, 2023 at 1:58

2 Answers 2


The closest possible defence in Canadian law would be the defence of necessity. But for this defence to be available, "the situation must be so emergent and the peril must be so pressing that normal human instincts cry out for action and make a counsel of patience unreasonable." There must also be "no reasonable legal alternative" to avoid the imminent peril. See generally, Perka v. The Queen, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 232.

The scenario you describe lacks imminent peril. There are also reasonable legal alternatives.



If you steal a car you are not preventing a crime, you are committing a crime.

You are merely switching roles: You are now the perpetrator, and someone else is the victim.

  • I understand. But what if not stealing a car implies becoming victim of a crime, a car theft one?
    – Jankoo
    Feb 24, 2023 at 17:24
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    @Jano, it's really simple, steal a car and commit a crime, or have your car stolen and be a victim. In real life there are other possibilities, (like not stealing) but you are the one who framed this as a binary choice, not me! Feb 24, 2023 at 17:42
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    Jen offered a good answer presuming you might be interested in a possible defense, but that isn't what you asked. You asked "can one commit a crime to prevent a crime" using car theft as the example. That's the question I answered. Past history is irrelevant in your example. "I'm tired of being a victim, I'm switching sides" doesn't make your act any less criminal. Feb 24, 2023 at 17:46
  • @Jano what if the guy who stole your car 100 times on road C did it because his car got stolen 200 times on road E? and that thief had their car stolen 300 times on road F? see how silly this excuse is?
    – user253751
    Feb 25, 2023 at 7:19

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