Can You Be Arrested for Possessing Burglary Tools in San Diego?

Free & Confidential Consultations

In California, it is illegal to possess a burglary tool if you intend on using it to commit burglary. However, determining whether an item is a burglary tool can be challenging. Below is an overview of the legality of possessing burglary tools in San Diego.

What are burglary tools?

A burglary tool is an object that can be used to commit theft. And although the list of possible burglary tools is extensive, below are some examples of items that can be used to commit burglary:

  • Lockpicking guns
  • Tubular lock picks
  • Bump keys
  • Door pullers
  • Master keys
  • Porcelain or ceramic spark plug pieces or chips
  • Picklocks
  • Crowbars
  • Screwdrivers
  • Vise grip pliers
  • Water-pump pliers
  • Slide hammers
  • Slim Jims
  • Tension bars

It is important to emphasize that some of the above tools, such as screwdrivers, are quite common, and their mere possession should not result in criminal charges. However, if it can be demonstrated that an individual intended to use a household item in the commission of a burglary, then he or she may be charged accordingly.

Proving intent

As noted above, an individual must have had the intent to use items unlawfully in order to be convicted of possession of burglary tools. However, intent can be difficult for prosecutors to prove, as they typically must rely on circumstantial evidence. And when a good criminal defense attorney is involved, it can make things even more difficult. Therefore, anyone charged with possession of burglary tools in San Diego should immediately obtain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Examples of intent to commit burglary

Scenario 1: If an individual in black clothing is observed at night looking in the window of a home while carrying a crowbar, the circumstances strongly suggest that he or she intends to commit burglary.

Scenario 2: If an individual in light clothing is observed during the day looking in the window of a home while carrying a screwdriver, the circumstantial evidence of burglary is much weaker than that described in the scenario above.

Penalties for the possession of burglary tools

In California, possession of burglary tools is a misdemeanor, and it is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorneys

Due to the potential consequences involved, it is important that anyone charged with possession of burglary tools in San Diego, California, seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, our experienced criminal defense attorneys provide all of our clients with expert legal guidance in order to achieve the most favorable results possible in misdemeanor cases. The talent and experience of our San Diego, California, attorneys ensures that our clients’ misdemeanor cases are handled expertly and with the utmost care. If you or a loved one is facing possession of burglary tools charges in California, please contact us immediately for a free consultation.

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

Rate this Post

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars