Possession of burglary tools is covered under California Penal Code 466 PC and makes it illegal to possess burglary tools with criminal intent. For the most part, burglary tools are everyday items. They include:
- Vice grip pliers
However, burglary tools are not limited to everyday items. They also include certain tools that make it easier to enter a building that a lot of people generally wouldn’t have. These include:
- Master keys
- Spark plug chips
- Tension bars
Burglary tools are not limited to these items under the law. Committing a burglary requires a person to enter a building or structure with the intent of stealing something or committing a felony while inside. That being the case, there are a lot of potential items a person could use to gain access to a locked building or structure. To cover this fact, PC 466 says that burglary tools can also be “other tools or instruments.”
It isn’t illegal in and of itself to carry these items around. After all, a lot of them are used by workers of various trades. What makes it a crime to have them in your possession, and what a prosecutor needs to be able to prove, is that you had “felonious intent.” To be guilty of the crime of possessing burglary tools, you have to possess these (or other) items and also intend to use them to commit a burglary.
*You should note that this is not legal advice, and for a more thorough explanation of PC 466, you’ll want to contact a lawyer.
“Felonious intent” is usually proven by providing circumstantial evidence to the court. For example, if a person is caught trespassing on private property in the middle of the night with any of the aforementioned items, they may be found guilty of possessing burglary tools.
Possession of burglary tools is a misdemeanor under California law that’s punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.