POSSESSION OF BURGLARY TOOLS
The crime of possession of burglary tools is just what it appears to be; possession of tools used or intended to be used to unlawfully enter the premises of another. Florida Statute 810.06 provides, “Whoever has in his possession any tool, machine, or implement with intent to use the same, or allow the same to be used, to commit any burglary or trespass shall be guilty of a felony of the third degree,” punishable by up to 5 years in Florida State Prison and a $5,000.00 fine.
The statute thus requires proof “not merely that the accused intended to commit a burglary or trespass while those tools were in his possession, but that the accused actually intended to use those tools to perpetrate the crime.” In order for the State to establish that an object is a burglary tool, the State needed to adduce testimony showing that the defendant used, or actually intended to use, the object to commit a burglary or trespass.
There are many defenses to the charge of Possession of Burglary Tools. It is essential to first determine the legality of the initial detention and the subsequent search that revealed the alleged burglary tools. Additionally, some of the common defenses to this charge are:
• No Proof of Intent: Intent is an element of the crime. The state must show that the defendant had the intent, not only to commit a trespass or burglary while burglary tools are in the defendant’s possession, but also to actually use the tools or other instrumentals in the commission of the trespass or burglary.
• Actual Possession of the Burglary Tools: The state may be unable to prove intent when the burglary tools are not in the actual physical possession of the defendant.
• No Evidence That the Tools Were Used- The state will need to show that the defendant, in a course of a trespass or burglary, used the burglary tool(s) in question.
• Circumstantial Evidence – when evidence of the intent necessary for possession of burglary tools is circumstantial, the State must prove that the evidence is inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence. Failure to do so will result in an acquittal.