Possession of Burglary Tools | California Penal Code Section 466 PC
California Penal Code Section 466 PC makes it a crime for a person to have possession of burglary tools with intent to break into a home, building, vehicle, or vessel. Burglary tools include items, such as picklocks, crowbars, screwdrivers, and slide hammers. Possessing burglary tools is a misdemeanor, so if a person is convicted, he faces up to six months in county jail, as well as a fine of up to $1000.
So, if you have been charged with the possession of burglary tools in California, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you and keep you from going to jail and paying hefty court fees and fines. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.
Text of California Penal Code Section 466 PC – Possession of Burglary Tools
According to California Penal Code 466 PC, “Every person having upon him or her in his or her possession a picklock, crow, keybit, crowbar, screwdriver, vise grip pliers, water-pump pliers, slidehammer, slim jim, tension bar, lock pick gun, tubular lock pick, bump key, floor-safe door puller, master key, ceramic or porcelain spark plug chips or pieces, or other instrument or tool with intent feloniously to break or enter into any building, railroad car, aircraft, or vessel, trailer coach, or vehicle as defined in the Vehicle Code, or who shall knowingly make or alter, or shall attempt to make or alter, any key or other instrument named above so that the same will fit or open the lock of a building, railroad car, aircraft, vessel, trailer coach, or vehicle as defined in the Vehicle Code, without being requested to do so by some person having the right to open the same, or who shall make, alter, or repair any instrument or thing, knowing or having reason to believe that it is intended to be used in committing a misdemeanor or felony, is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any of the structures mentioned in Section 459 shall be deemed to be a building within the meaning of this section.”
This criminal statute makes a crime for a person to have with him or within his possession burglary tools that he intends to use to break into a home, structure, automobile, or other structure.
Burglary tools include:
- Master key
- Any other tool that a person intended to use to break into a building or vehicle
Examples of situations involving burglary tools:
- Having a crowbar while attempting to break into a home
- Driving a pickup truck with burglary tools in the back while heading over to another person’s home to break into it
- Walking in a neighborhood, looking for empty homes to break into with a slim jim and a screwdriver in your backpack
Proving a Person Guilty of Possession of Burglary Tools
For the prosecution to convict a person of possession of burglary tools, the prosecution must prove a number of elements beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to prove even one element, it will not be able to convict the defendant of the criminal charges. The prosecution must prove the following elements:
- The defendant had possession of a tool or item that can be used to break into a car, building, or vessel. Such tools include: (picklock, crowbar, screwdriver, pliers, slim jim, bump key, master key, and other instrument used for burglary), and
- The defendant possessed one of the tools mentioned above with the intent to commit a burglary
Examples of Possession of Burglary Tool
A man walks through a neighborhood looking for empty homes to burglarize. As he walks down the street with a backpack that has a flat head screwdriver, a concerned resident calls the police. The police detain the suspect and find a screwdriver in his backpack and he confesses that he was looking for a home to steal valuables and money. Even though the suspect did not commit burglary, he can be charged with and convicted of possessing burglary tools because the suspect intended to use the Philips head screwdriver to commit burglary.
A man walks down a street looking for a car to break-in. He finally finds a car and so he picks up a rock and smashes the car’s front window. Unbeknownst to the man, a police officer was parked on the opposite side of the street and witnesses everything. The man does not have a chance to enter the vehicle as he’s immediately arrested. In addition to being arrested for attempted burglary, the man can also be charged with and convicted of possession of burglary tools.
Penalties for Being Convicted of Having Burglary Tools Within Your Possession
If the prosecution convicts a person of possessing burglary tools, he faces the following potential penalties:
- Conviction of a misdemeanor offense
- Up to six months in county jail
- A fine of up to $1000
- Being placed on informal summary probation
Note: The court is free to impose the punishments it sees fit. The court could impose the punishments we just listed, and it can impose additional punishments depending on the circumstances of your case.
Defenses to Possession of Burglary Tool Charges
There are a number of defenses that your attorney can make to defend you against possession of burglary tool charges. The list of defenses below contains some of the defenses that may apply to your case. It is not exhaustive of all of the defenses your attorney can use to defend you.
- The defendant did not have the intent to commit burglary
- The accused did not have “burglary tools” in his possession
- The defendant is innocent
- The defendant’s burglary tools were seized in violation of the defendant’s right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures
Note: It is very important to note that possession if a specific intent crime, meaning the prosecution must prove that the defendant possessed burglary tools because he specifically intended to commit a burglary using the tools. If the prosecution cannot show this, it will not be able to convict the defendant of this crime.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with possession of burglary tools, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at The H Law Group to defend you and keep you from going to jail. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to achieve the best possible results for you. Schedule your free consultation today by filling out the contact form below or by calling us at 1 (213) 370-0404.