Possession of Burglary Tools
Possession of Burglary Tools is a serious offense that comes with serious consequences. The State often assumes that a person in possession of certain tools was in the process of committing or attempting to commit a burglary. Therefore, prosecutors often treat a violation of this statute much like they would any burglary. Prosecutors may also charge and prosecute this offense when they don't have enough evidence to prove a burglary charge. Give the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers of SLG Law a call to discuss your particular case and what we can do to help.
The Possession of Burglary Tools statute was implemented to punish those that were caught just before or after committing the act the burglary, where the State did not have the evidence to convict the person of the burglary or the burglary wasn't attempted yet. For example, if a person is walking down a residential street at night with a crowbar, a mask, and a pillowcase, a police officer would not be able to charge that person with burglary because it hadn't been attempted yet. However, under this statute, the officer would be able to charge the person with possession of burglary tools. Context will be important in these cases. The facts are important. If an officer walks up to a person who is lurking between two houses at 2:00 am with a crowbar in his hand, the State will have circumstantial evidence that he was about to commit a burglary. If a police officer stops somebody driving around downtown at 2:00 am with a crowbar in the backseat of the car, the intent to commit a burglary may be much more difficult to prove. In many of these cases, the officer finds a person walking down a street with tools after receiving a call of a burglary that occurred in the area.
- You intended to commit a burglary or trespass, and
- You had in your possession a tool, machine, or implement that you intended to use, or allow to be used in the commission of the burglary or trespass, and
- You did some overt act toward the commission of a burglary or trespass.
The State will often use the circumstances to prove that you intended to commit a burglary or trespass. This is called circumstantial evidence and it is admissible at trial. For example, if you were walking down a residential street late at night with a tire iron in your hand going from yard to yard, the State would argue that your actions show that you intended to break into the houses. They may argue that you had no reasonable reason to be carrying a tire iron and that you had no reason to be in that area at that time of night. If a house had been broken into already, they would use that fact as evidence of your intent as well. Sometimes the State has more evidence of your intent and sometimes they have less. Each case is fact specific. Sometimes they have very little to no evidence of your intent, yet still arrest you. Call our experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorneys to discuss your particular case.
Possession of Burglary Tools is a Third Degree Felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The two most common defenses to Possession of Burglary Tools:
- you had no intent to commit a burglary or trespass
- the tools were not burglary tools.
Possession of Burglary Tools,
Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!