Possession of Burglary Tools
When prosecutors set out to charge someone arrested for a burglary, they often tack on as many related charges as possible. One of the most common burglary-related offenses pertains to the possession of tools or objects used to carry out a burglary —or possession of burglary tools as it’s referred to in Arizona. While this offense is far less serious than a burglary offense, possession of burglary tools is a Class 6 felony and these charges must be taken seriously. At the Law Offices of James E. Novak, out Phoenix criminal defense lawyer has decades of experience successfully defending clients charged with serious theft offenses, including burglary and possession of burglary tools. We can help you identify a compelling defense designed to minimize the impact that your arrest has on the rest of your life.What Is Burglary in Arizona?
Under the U.S. system of government, every state is free to enact its own criminal laws. And while burglary statutes across the county all prohibit the same basic conduct, it is important to understand the nuances of an Arizona burglary.
In Arizona, a burglary is defined as unlawfully entering or remaining on another’s property with the intent to commit a felony while on the property. Arizona law provides three classifications of burglary under Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1506 (burglary in the third degree), § 13-1507 (burglary in the second degree), and §13-1508 (burglary in the first degree). Burglary penalties range from a Class 4 felony for a third degree burglary to a Class 2 felony for a residential first-degree burglary.What Is Possession of Burglary Tools?
The Arizona law prohibiting the possession of burglary tools makes it illegal to have any “explosive, tool, instrument or other article adapted or commonly used for committing any form of burglary” if you intend to use the item to commit a burglary. While this definition seems fairly clear, there are few things to keep in mind about this crime.
You do not need to have committed a burglary
Nowhere in A.R.S. § 13-1505 does it mention actually committing a burglary. Thus, it is possible for prosecutors to charge you with possession of burglary tools even if you were not arrested in another’s property. Of course, these cases tend to be harder for the prosecution to prove.
The definition of a “burglary tool” is broad
While the law only provides two examples of what constitutes a “burglary tool,” courts have shown a willingness to classify any number of objects as a burglary tool. The obvious examples include lock picks and crowbars, however, screwdrivers, flashlights and hammers could be found to be a burglary tool when looking at the surrounding circumstances.
The government needs to prove your intent
In the majority of these cases, charges related to the possession of burglary tools are in addition to burglary charges. However, that isn’t always the case. So, while the prosecution doesn’t need to prove you committed a burglary, they do need to prove that you intended to use the items to commit a burglary. Depending on the facts, this can be challenging for the prosecution because many “burglary tools” are everyday items commonly found in the typical household.
Whether you face a single charge of possession of burglary tools or you also face other theft charges, speaking with an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney is imperative to protect your rights.Were You Arrested for Possessing Burglary Tools?
If you were recently arrested for possessing burglary tools, regardless of whether you also face burglary charges, the Law Office of James E. Novak can help. For more than two decades, Attorney James Novak has been proud to stand up for good people charged with serious crimes. He understands that facing serious felony charges can be overwhelming, and does everything possible to help you move past your arrest with as little impact on your future as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call Attorney James Novak at (480) 413-1499. The Law Office of James Novak proudly defends clients in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler Scottsdale, Gilbert and other surrounding cities in Maricopa County.