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Burglary Tool Possession

Defending against Burglary Tool Possession Charges – Illinois Criminal Defense Counsel

When a person is stopped by the police and has certain tools and other items in his or her possession, he or she may think that it is not a serious matter, but these circumstances could lead to a life-changing criminal conviction. It is important to take any criminal charges seriously, but burglary-related crimes have the potential to completely destroy a person’s future. Burglary tools can be as simple as a bolt cutter, which may have multiple uses, but if the defendant does not retain the right legal counsel, he or she may be sentenced to up to three years in prison and see countless doors to various opportunities close.

David L. Freidberg is an attorney who has advocated on behalf of his clients for nearly two decades. Mr. Freidberg focuses his criminal defense practice in Cook County, Illinois and the surrounding area, with an office in Chicago and DuPage County. He and his team of legal professionals believe that it is important to review every aspect of the case in order to determine the best legal strategies to defeat the charges or get them reduced in order to protect his client’ interests. At the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., we are dedicated to fighting to preserve the rights of individuals charged with a criminal offense. We believe that every case requires committed diligence, including defending against charges of being in possession of tools used to effectuate illegal entry into the property of another.

The Elements of a Possession of Burglary Tools Charge

A person may be charged with burglary if he enters into or remains in a building, motor vehicle, watercraft, aircraft, or other premises with the intent of committing a theft or other felony act therein. See 720 ILCS 5/19-1 However, there are times when a person can be charged and convicted of a burglary-related crime without ever attempting to gain illegal entry into someone else’s property.

Under Illinois law, a person may be charged with the crime of possessing tools that could be used in a burglary. These tools might include:

  • An instrument, such as a key, explosive device, or other implement, that could be used to effect an illegal entry into a building, motor vehicle, trailer, watercraft, aircraft, railroad car, safe, vault, or any other place or depository designed to keep property safe – there must be an intent to use the tool to commit a theft or other felony act once the person has effectuated entry; or
  • A bump key, which is used to get through certain locking mechanisms, specifically comprised of a pin tumbler lock.

See 720 ILCS 5/19-2 . This is a Class 4 felony. A person can defeat the inference of intent to commit a crime if he or she can demonstrate why there are legitimate reasons to be in possession of these tools. Obviously, someone who is a professional locksmith would be expected to possess these types of tools. In addition, private investigators and security officers might have legitimate reasons to be in possession of these tools. A person also may be able to defeat the charges of possession of tools that could be used to illegally open or enter property belonging to another if he or she can show how the tools had uses other than illegal ones.

A person may be charged with the sale of burglary tools if he or she sells or transfers any of the tools that fall within the classification of burglary tools knowing that they are intended to be used to break into the property of another. This also is a Class 4 felony. See 720 ILCS 5/19-2.5.

Many times, a person who is charged with possession of burglary tools also is charged with burglary, residential burglary, home invasion, criminal trespass on a residence, or some other type of property crime. When the only charge relates to the tools and instruments that a person had on them, it becomes much more difficult for the prosecution to prove that the defendant intended to commit an act of theft or a felony offense.

Penalties for Possession or Sale of Burglary Tools

A person who has been charged with possession or sale of burglary tools faces a Class 4 felony conviction. If convicted, the person may be sentenced to one to three years in prison and a legal fine. It is important to note that this is a felony conviction, meaning that a person convicted of these charges faces far more than just time in prison. He or she could lose many rights, including the right to bear arms, and risks losing career opportunities, as well as many other benefits for which he or she otherwise would have been eligible.

It is possible that a person who has been convicted of this crime will be sentenced to probation, which means that it is critical to mount a zealous defense in order to minimize the consequences for the person being charged, including getting the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.

Defending against Burglary Tool Possession Charges

Having certain tools in a defendant’s possession without anything more than that provides a strong opportunity to challenge the prosecutor’s case successfully. The prosecuting attorney is going to have to prove intent based on circumstantial evidence and that can be contested with a showing that there was a legitimate purpose for the possession of the instruments, including the fact that they had uses other than to illegally gain entry into another person’s property. In addition, it is possible to challenge the procedures that the investigating officers used to gather the evidence. When the prosecution has a weak case, any challenge to the foundation of the case may be enough to encourage the prosecutor to reduce the charges or dismiss the case completely.

David L. Freidberg Advocates for Those Charged with a Crime

Many times, a person charged with a crime like possession of burglary tools wrongly believes that he or she can get through the legal proceedings without the assistance of a skilled attorney, but this is a terrible mistake. Conviction of a felony can have life-altering consequences. At the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., our team of legal professionals understands how important it is to fight these charges vigorously, with the goal of getting the case dismissed or the charges reduced. Our Chicago criminal defense attorneys are prepared to do whatever is necessary to get the best results for our clients, including going to trial in order to prevail. Do not hesitate to contact or call the office at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 in order to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your case. We are available 24/7 for your convenience.