In the State of Florida, possession of burglary tools is a serious crime. Anyone who is successfully convicted will face third-degree felony charges, with penalties of up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine, as well as the long-term consequences of being a convicted felon. If you have been found with a tool or weapon that is considered a burglary tool and have been arrested for this crime, you are going to need a high-quality criminal defense. There are numerous defenses to a burglary tools charge that can be put forward with the help of the right lawyer.
Our criminal defense team at The Law Place has seventy-five years of combined legal experience and will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the most minimal penalties possible for your alleged offenses. Contact us today at (941) 444-4444 today to schedule a free consultation. Our telephone lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so call us now so we can get to work on your case. The sooner you seek the help of a trusted and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who knows how to effectively defend you against these charges, the more likely it is you’ll be able to achieve a positive outcome in your case.
Burglaries in Florida
The reason why possession of burglary tools is considered such a serious crime in Florida is because of the state’s exceptionally high crime rates. Anyone who is seen to have the intention of committing a serious crime, such as trespass or burglary, will face serious penalties because law enforcement cannot afford to be lenient. In 2010, one property crime occurred every forty-seven seconds, one burglary occurred every three minutes, and one motor vehicle theft occurred every thirteen minutes.
The good news is that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has recently reported that the crime rate in Florida is the lowest it has been in over 40 years. However, Florida is still thought to have one of the highest rates in the country, and residents are still heavily encouraged to secure their homes and business from any potential crimes.
The problem is because there is such a strong focus on reducing these acts of criminal behavior, some individuals are treated especially harshly. It is important that if you have been accused of burglary tool possession, you protect your rights by consulting with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Definition for Possession of Burglary Tools
According to Florida Statute 810.06, it is illegal in Port Charlotte for a person to have in their possession any tools, implements, or machines, with the intent to utilize the tools, implements, or machines (or let others use them) to commit a trespass or a burglary.
Required Proof for a Conviction
To successfully convict a person of the crime of possession of burglary tools in Port Charlotte, the prosecutor is required to establish the following elements beyond any reasonable doubt:
- The defendant had the intent to trespass or to commit a burglary.
- The defendant had a tool, implement or, machine in their possession that they had the intent to use or allow to be used in the commission of an illegal trespass or burglary.
- The defendant did some overt act toward the commission of an illegal trespass or burglary.
The Nature of the Criminal Offense
Florida’s burglary tool statute criminalizes any attempt to commit a trespass or a burglary, which is identified by evidence of the possession of any tools or devices that could be used to commission a crime, coupled with the defendant’s intent to use them. Criminal defense lawyers will often question the intent of the defendant in these cases because it is a difficult thing to prove beyond any reasonable doubt.
Intent to Use Burglary Tools
For an object to constitute a burglary tool in the State of Florida, the prosecution has the burden of proving that the defendant used or intended to use an object to commission a burglary or a trespass.
A person can not be successfully convicted of possession of burglary tools if the only evidence available is that the defendant committed another offense, such as theft, using the same tool or device. For example, if a defendant was seen using a tool in an attempt to take a radio from a vehicle, but there is no evidence to show that he intended to use the same tool or devise to commit a burglary or trespass, a conviction for possession of burglary tools cannot be held up in court.
To establish the defendant’s reason for possessing certain ‘tools’ and therefore their intent to use them in the commission of a crime, the court will look at all of the circumstances of the case, including the context in which an object was found and the actions of the accused.
Household and Dual-Use Objects
When a defendant is found with a common household object, which serves another legal or dual-use purpose, these objects can be classified as burglary tools if the prosecution can establish, using other evidence, that the accused intended to use them to commit a burglary or trespass. Some common examples of household and duel-use items include screwdrivers and bolt cutters.
The Florida Supreme Court has stated that items of personal apparel, such as gloves, are not considered a burglary tool and are not an example of a ‘tool, machine, or implement.’ Even though items such as gloves can be used by burglars to avoid identification (fingerprints), and hats can be used to avoid detection (facial identification), these and other personal apparel items are not used to actually facilitate the breaking and entering of a property or dwelling.
What Constitutes as a Burglary in Port Charlotte?
According to Florida Statute 810.02, a burglary is defined as the entering of a structure, dwelling, or conveyance with the intention of committing a criminal offense once inside. Situations that would be considered a burglary under this statute include:
- An individual who enters a structure, a dwelling, or a conveyance stealthily with the intention of committing a criminal offense inside.
- An individual who remains in a structure, dwelling, or conveyance, after their permission to remain has been withdrawn by the owner, with the intention of committing an offense inside.
- An individual who commits a forcible felony (or attempts to commit a forcible felony), such as murder, manslaughter, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and any other felonies that are listed under Florida Statute 776.08.In this case, charges could increase to second-degree felony charges or first-degree felony charges.
This statute does not account for instances where a structure, dwelling, or conveyance was open to the general public at the time of an offense or situations where an alleged offender is invited to enter and/or remain in a premise or licensed to enter and/or remain on a premise.
Definition of “a Structure or Dwelling”
Florida Statute 810.011 defines the term “dwelling” as any kind of building or conveyance. This includes any porch attached to a building, a building or conveyance that is permanent or temporary, a mobile or immobile property, and any property that has a roof and is intended for the occupation of people who will stay there at night. The statute also states that a dwelling refers to any additional outbuildings of a property, any enclosed space within a ground, as well as any attached garages.
The same statute defines a “structure” as any building that is either permanent or temporary, which has a roof. A “conveyance” includes any motor vehicle, vessel, ship, trailer, railroad vehicle, aircraft, or anything else used to transport people from one place to another. To “enter a conveyance” means to take up any portion or part of the conveyance.
Penalties for Possession of Burglary Tools in Port Charlotte
Possession of burglary tools is a third-degree felony in Florida. Penalties may include:
- Up to 5 years in prison
- Up to five years probation,
- A fine of up to $5,000.
In terms of severity ranking, possession of burglary tools is classed as a level four offense under Florida’s Criminal Punishment Code.
Under some circumstances, charges could be increased to second-degree felony charges or first-degree felony charges if any other serious crimes took place during the commission of the burglary or trespass.
A felony conviction in the State of Florida also comes with some long-term consequences. Convicted felons are restricted from applying for certain jobs, obtaining a loan, applying for housing, accessing further education, and traveling outside of the country. They are also unable to buy a firearm and even vote in local and national elections.
This is why it is so crucial that you fight your felony charges with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call The Law Place for a free consultation today.
Possible Defenses to Possession of Burglary Tools in Port Charlotte
An experienced criminal defense attorney will build your defense based on the specifics of your case, but there are a number of defenses available to anyone who has been accused of burglary tool possession in Port Charlotte. You should not allow anyone to convince you to accept a plea deal before you have spoken to a qualified criminal defense attorney.
Some common defenses include:
No Proof of Intent
In any possession of burglary tools cases, the prosecution is required to prove intent. This is otherwise known as “Mens Rea.” Not only must they prove the defendant’s intention to commit a burglary or a trespass with burglary tools in their possession, but also an intention to actually use these tools in the commission of said trespass or burglary.
This means that the prosecutor has a “duel intent burden,” and this creates a potentially strong defense for the accused and their legal team. Without sufficient evidence of duel intent, a conviction cannot be upheld in court. However, only a skilled attorney can discredit the opposition’s evidence and put this defense forward on your behalf.
Burglary Tools Not in Defendant’s Possession
If the burglary tools were not physically in your possession at the time of your arrest (because they were in your car or concealed in another location), the prosecutor might be unable to prove that you had any intent to use them to commit a burglary or trespass. This is a very strong defense if it is put forward by the right lawyer.
No Evidence That the Tools Were Used in the Course of an Attempt
If the prosecutor has no evidence that you, whilst attempting to commit a trespass or burglary, ever used the tool(s) in question, it can be very difficult for them to successfully convict you of the offense. If the prosecution doesn’t have photo evidence, video evidence, or witnesses’ testimony, a good criminal defense lawyer may be able to achieve a dismissal of your charges.
No Overt Act
You cannot be convicted of possession of burglary tools in Port Charlotte if you were merely found to be thinking or talking about committing a trespass or a burglary. Unless you physically engaged in some overt act toward the commission of such a crime, charges can not be sustained.
When a prosecutor relies solely on circumstantial evidence of intent, a good criminal defense lawyer may be able to discredit them in court.
The state is required to prove that the evidence against you is inconsistent with any reasonable hypothesis of innocence. If they fail to do so because your lawyer can point out the flaws in the evidence, this could result in an acquittal.
A good attorney will be able to review your case and inform you of the most viable defense strategies for you during a free, no-obligation consultation. Call The Law Place today to speak to a member of our team.
Statute of Limitations in a Port Charlotte Possession of Burglary Tools Case
As per Florida Statute 775.15, all criminal and personal injury cases in the State of Florida must be settled or brought to court in a timely manner. This is to ensure that the quality of the evidence is still good enough for a fair trial. Therefore, if too much time has passed since your alleged burglary tool offense, it may not be possible for it to be brought to trial.
In the case of any third-degree felony charges such as possession of burglary tools, a statute of limitations of three years applies. Under certain circumstances, this could be extended, but this is extremely rare. For more information about the statutes of limitations that applies to your case, Call The Law Place to schedule a free consultation today.
How Soon Should You Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Port Charlotte?
Every person who is arrested for a crime in the State of Florida has a constitutional right to request a lawyer before they are required to answer questions from police officers and investigators. Not only are you not obliged to answer any questions during any formal interrogations, but you can also refuse to answer any questions at the time of your arrest. In fact, anything you say at any time can be used against you in court. This is why it is so important that you should hire a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that they can protect your rights and advise you of what to say and, more importantly, what not to say.
If you have been accused of any criminal offense in Port Charlotte, call The Law Place immediately so we can get to work on your case. Call today for your free consultation.
What a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Do for You
A good law firm will get to work on your case straight away and begin collecting their own evidence before it is lost or destroyed. Your legal team can request and view the police reports that relate to your case, and with this evidence, they can get a head start on building an aggressive and comprehensive defense on your behalf.
Your attorney will find any minor errors made by law enforcement officers at the time of your arrest that can then be used to discredit the prosecutor’s case. For example, if they did not conduct themselves within the legal bounds of the Constitution, there is a good chance that your rights were violated in some way. This due diligence could protect you from some of the most severe penalties that are associated with burglary tool possession charges, such as a lengthy prison sentence.
If your defense lawyer can not suppress all of the evidence and cannot successfully have your charges dropped altogether, they can still work to have your charges reduced or negotiate a plea deal on your behalf. This would not be possible without high-quality legal representation from a reputable Florida law firm.
Our attorneys can take the burden and stress of your criminal charges away from you and support you through this complex legal process. So don’t delay. Call The Law Place to speak to a criminal defense lawyer in a free consultation today.
Important Questions for a Potential Possession of Burglary Tools Lawyer
When looking for adequate legal representation, it is important to do some of your own research. Speak to friends and family and ask for recommendations, search for client reviews online, and visit websites such as AVVO.
When you have found a reputable firm, ask for a free consultation and ask as many questions as you can before agreeing to anything. A respectable lawyer will be happy to answer any questions you and give you a rough idea of the defense they would put forward for you based on the information you have given them.
Here are some important questions you should ask any prospective criminal defense attorneys:
- Can you give me some examples of cases that you have handled that are similar to mine? What was the outcome of these?
- Can I have some specific details about the fees you charge and how your payment plans work?
- Can you give me some examples of criminal cases that you have successfully litigated?
- Does your law firm have a good plea bargain track record?
- Do you have recent testimonials or references from some of your clients?
If any law firm is unwilling to answer these questions or unable to provide you with recent references, this is a good indication that they are not the law firm or you. We can answer any questions that you may have and provide you with a free case review in your free initial consultation with us.
What Makes The Law Place Different From Other Law Practices in Florida?
The Law Place is not like other law firms in Port Charlotte and many other law practices in the State of Florida. Our team of established criminal defense attorneys combines their many years of legal knowledge and experience to provide their clients with the best possible defense. Our attorneys are always researching precedents and case statutes to continuously fine-tune their skills in the pursuit of justice and victory.
For a high-quality criminal defense, speak to The Law Place Today.
Call The Law Place Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been accused of possession of burglary tools in Port Charlotte, it is essential that you seek help from an experienced, high-quality criminal defense attorney. Using our combined legal experience and knowledge of Florida law, we will investigate your case and identify all of the legal and factual defenses that are available to you. With our help, you could avoid expensive fines, a lengthy prison term, and all the long-term effects of a felony charge.
Contact The Law Place in Florida today at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation that is free of obligation and fully confidential. Our phone lines are always open, and someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.