Tahlequah Attorney BlogWhat Constitutes Possession Of Burglary Tools In Oklahoma?

burglary tools in OklahomaPossession of burglary tools in Oklahoma can be a serious crime if you have a prior history involving burglary. Also, the situation depends on the tools with which you are caught. Here is what you need to know about how this crime is handled in Tahlequah.

Possession Of Burglary Tools In Oklahoma Defined

In Oklahoma, possession of burglary tools is legally defined as:

  • having burglary tools in your possession
  • such as a pick-lock, key, bit, jack, jimmy, nippers, pick, betty, or
  • any other burglary tool,
  • with the intent to break into and enter a building, or
  • other structure such as a booth, tent, or vessel,
  • to commit a felony inside.

Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1437

Possession of any of these tools coupled with the intent to break and enter to commit a felony inside are the hallmarks of this crime. Also, the crime is generally classified as a misdemeanor in Tahlequah. For a first-time offense, you could spend up to a year in county jail.

Elements Of The Crime

It is helpful to know the elements of the crime. If the prosecution is unable to prove even one element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, they cannot secure a conviction. Therefore, facts and evidence that tend to disprove any element of the crime can be important in building a strong defense, and securing a dismissal of the charges.

The elements of this crime include:

  • possession of one of the listed tools,
  • with the intent to break and enter
  • a building or other structure; and
  • with the intent to commit a felony inside.

The possession of a listed tool is fairly straightforward. However, breaking and entering is really a term of art. Thus, it helps to understand what this element includes and what it does not.

Breaking and entering is legally defined as:

  • forcibly breaking a wall, door, window, or lock;
  • breaking in in any other manner;
  • picking a lock;
  • using a false key;
  • lifting a latch; or
  • opening a window.

Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1431

Also, definition is broad to encompass a wide variety of illegal types of entry.

Possible Defenses Against Possession Of Burglary Tools In Oklahoma

The prosecution has the burden to prove that a defendant had the intent to break and enter, but it does not need to show that the breaking and entering actually occurred. The prosecution can use the circumstances of your case to prove intent to break and enter and to prove your intent to commit a felony inside.

For example, the prosecution may use the fact that you were caught at midnight with a crowbar outside a warehouse door to show that you had the intent to break and enter into the warehouse. Time of day, proximity, and other items in your possession may all be relevant to determine that intent.

On the other end of the spectrum, being caught with the same crowbar near your own vehicle parked two blocks away at 10 am may not be as relevant to show that you had the intent to break and enter the warehouse.

The prosecution must prove that you had the intent to commit a felony inside. The most common type of felony is theft, but it could also be a physical or sexual assault, rape, or arson. Any felony will do.

Again, a good prosecutor will use circumstantial evidence to prove intent. If you are caught with explosives or an accelerant in your possession along with the burglary tools, a prosecutor can argue that you intended to commit arson inside.

Previous Burglary Convictions Add Enhanced Sentencing

A prior burglary conviction makes getting caught with burglary tools a much more serious conviction. Therefore, if you are caught with three or more of any of the following tools, you could face a felony conviction.

  • Sledgehammer;
  • pry bar;
  • punches;
  • chisel; or
  • bolt cutters.

And that could mean mandatory jail time. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 1442

We are here to help if you or a loved one are facing charges. Call a Tahlequah attorney today.

Free Consultation: Tahlequah Criminal Defense Lawyer

Please contact a Tahlequah criminal defense lawyer to discuss your available legal options if you’ve been charged with possession of burglary tools in Oklahoma.

For a free consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll-free at 1-888-447-7262.

Or, if you prefer e-mail, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page and we’ll contact you by e-mail as soon as possible.

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