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Possession of Burglary Tools

Everything You Need to Know About Possession of Burglary Tools in Florida

When picturing a potential burglary, several images often come to mind. Someone dressed in dark, unrecognizable clothing, carrying tools to help them complete the crime. While the crime of breaking and entering has its own rules and penalties under the Florida Statute section on Burglary, there are other aspects of a trespassing crime that aren’t often talked about.

If a person has committed a burglary crime, there is a chance that they can be charged with an additional crime: possession of burglary tools. This can occur when the accused defendant has been accused of using specific tools to help assist in committing or attempting a burglary.

If you or a loved one have been charged with burglary crime, you may also face a possession of burglary tools charge. You may be panicking or feeling stressed out about what to do next. This page will go over the Florida law on possession of burglary tools, along with the potential penalties and defenses that can come with a possession of burglary tools case. The best way to ensure your case is in the best hands is to reach out to an experienced defense attorney in your area.

The Statute

Possession of Burglary Tools falls under Florida Statute Section 810.06, which states: “Whoever has in his or her possession any tool, machine, or implement with intent to use the same, or allow the same to be used to commit any burglary or trespassing shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree.”

Examples of Burglary Tools

You may be wondering what is considered a burglary tool. The following is a list of what have considered to be burglary tools, though it is not comprehensive:

  • Crowbar
  • Ski mask
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Lock pick
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Pliers

When a police officer finds tools like the ones listed above on a defendant, it is likely they will suspect them of burglary and arrest them for the possession of burglary tools.

What Does the State Need to Prove?

In order to charge a defendant with possession of burglary tools, the state prosecution has to be able to prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant had the intent to commit burglary or trespassing;
  • The defendant had a tool in his or her possession that they intended to use in committing burglary or trespassing; and
  • The defendant did an overt act towards the commission of the burglary.

The burglary tool statute in Florida prohibits attempted burglary as well as completed burglary. The attempt to commit a burglary or trespassing is criminalized and discerned through the possession of potential tools paired with the defendant’s intent to use the tools for the crime.

Not covered within the statute is if an item was used to commit another offense after the trespassing had already been accomplished. The statute prohibits the possession of burglary tools, not theft tools. For example, if a defendant broke into someone’s home and stole a bike that was placed in the garage, the possession of burglary tools would be for the lock picking tool used to break into the home.

 However, if any tools were used to get the bike—let’s say a bolt cutter to break the lock chain—it does not count as a burglary tool. When a defendant uses a tool within the burglary, it does not necessarily mean that that specific tool was intended to commit a burglary.

In addition, clothing cannot be considered a burglary tool. Even though gloves can be used in burglaries to avoid leaving fingerprints, it is not considered an object which facilitates the breaking and entering of a dwelling. It is also not enough to convict a defendant of possession of burglary if they just had a crowbar or flashlight on them. It needs to be proven by the state that the defendant had the intent to use the crowbar and flashlight to commit the burglary.

Penalties for Possession of Burglary Tools

Getting charged with a possession of burglary tools crime is considered a Level 4 Offense under the Criminal Punishment Code in Florida. Getting convicted with a possession of burglary tools crime is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by a $5,000 fine, and up to five years in prison.

It is possible for a judge to sentence a defendant convicted of a possession of burglary tools to probation. However, it is also possible to receive the statutory maximum sentence of five years in state prison.

Defenses to a Possession of Burglary Tools Charge

There are several defenses that can be used in a case where the defendant is accused of committing a possession of burglary tools charge. The following is a list of possible defenses to use when a defendant is accused of a possession of burglary tools charge:

  • No proof of intent: The court is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was intent from the defendant to use the burglary tools to commit the burglary. If the defense can prove that the defendant did not have the requisite intent to use the burglary tool to commit the burglary or trespassing, it is a possible defense.
  • Burglary tools not in defendant’s possession: The court must prove the defendant intended to use the burglary tools to commit the burglary crime, so if the burglary tools were not in the physical possession of the defendant or not placed in the car or some other location, it can be a possible defense.
  • Not enough evidence that the tools were used: The state must provide enough evidence to prove that the defendant used the burglary tool or had the intent to use the burglary tool to commit the burglary. If the court is unable to provide sufficient evidence that the tools were used, it is a possible defense.
  • No act: The defendant must have gone further than just talking about committing the burglary or considering it. The defendant must have engaged in or acted towards the commission of a burglary or trespassing with burglary tools.

The only way to guarantee you have the best possible defense to your case is to work with a skilled defense attorney in your area.

Finding a Possession of Burglary Tools Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

If you or a loved one have been accused of a possession of burglary tools crime, it is of the utmost importance to find a defense attorney in your area. Contact a qualified Tallahassee criminal defense attorney. Seeking out legal help can be the difference in your case, and potentially lead to walking away free rather than facing expensive fines and potential jail time. Don Pumphrey and his team at Pumphrey Law Firm have worked with clients all over the sunshine state in defense of various criminal charges. They are aware of what it takes to defend your case and are prepared to fight for your freedom. Call (850) 681-7777 or send an online message today and receive a free consultation regarding your case.

Written by Karissa Key

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