Being caught with burglary tools in your possession can get you into trouble in Creek County, Oklahoma. It all depends on what tools you have in your possession and your prior criminal history.
If you or a loved one are being charged with this crime in Creek County, here are some things that you might want to know.
Possession of Burglary Tools Defined
In Oklahoma, possession of burglary tools is legally defined as having any of the following tools within your possession: pick-lock, crow, key, bit, jack, jimmy, nippers, pick, betty, or other implement of burglary, with the intent to break into and enter a building, booth, tent, railroad car, vessel, or the like to commit a felony. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1437
It is the possession of these tools coupled with the intent to break and enter to commit a felony that makes this a crime. It is a misdemeanor offense and punishable by up to a year in jail.
What the Prosecution Must Prove
The prosecution must prove possession, intent to break and enter, and intent to commit a felony inside.
Breaking and entering is a term of art, really. It can mean smashing a door or window, but it can also mean using a false key to open a door. It is defined as:
- forcibly breaking a wall, door, window, or lock; or
- breaking into a dwelling in any other manner; or
- picking a lock; or
- using a false key; or
- lifting a latch; or
- opening a window.
Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1431
The prosecution will look to the circumstances of your case to prove intent to break and enter.
If you are caught with the burglary tools at night right by a building you do not have the authority to enter or caught in the middle of picking a lock, intent may be proven.
If you are caught with burglary tools in the middle of the day at a park, it is less likely that the prosecution will be able to prove intent.
Any facts that you have that could disprove intent would also be valuable to your defense. If the burglary tools are found near you, but not on your person, or they do not have your fingerprints on them, this may be important to your defense.
The prosecution must also prove that you had the intent to commit a felony inside.
Again, the prosecution will use the facts of your case to meet this element of proof. The felony could be a theft, or it could be an act of physical violence against a person inside. It can be any felony crime.
Let’s say that you are also caught with a loaded gun. The prosecution may infer that you intended to harm someone inside.
If you are carrying a bag of items stolen from another building, the prosecution will try to show that you intended to break and enter yet another building to take similar items. Depending on their value, this may be treated as a felony.
Previous Burglary Convictions Make Matters Worse
Any prior burglary conviction makes getting caught with burglary tools a much more serious conviction. Possession of three or more of the following tools is treated as a felony: sledgehammer; pry bar; punches; chisel; or bolt cutters, with the intent to use them or knowing that they will be used in the commission of a crime. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1442
This conviction could mean mandatory jail time. Therefore, it is important for you to get the legal help you need. Even small facts are important in cases like these.
Free Consultation: Sapulpa Criminal Defense Attorney
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