Possession of Burglary Tools in Lexington, SC
Understanding How Your Burglary Charges Could be Enhanced
A typical enhancement of a burglary or attempted burglary charge in South Carolina is possession of burglary tools. This is considered a felony and carries up to five years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. The time can be either consecutive or concurrent with other time given at the discretion of the Court. The statute for this offense is S.C. Code § 16-11-20. It provides that anyone who possesses or manufactures any device used for burglary, safecracking, larceny or other crime can be convicted. Examples provided by the law include any "engine, machine, tool, false key, picklock, bit, nippers, nitroglycerine, dynamite cap, coil or fuse, steel wedge, or drill tap-pin."
Other examples from cases include crow bars, bit and auger, flashlights, gloves, cord, screwdriver, syringe, tape and cotton." Possession of such items must be in such circumstances as would show intent to use them in a crime. Even though many potential burglary tools are lawful by themselves, S.C. law is clear that conviction under this statute is still proper. Often times this statute is used by law enforcement and prosecutors when charging a burglary or safecracking defendant in an attempt to gain leverage which can be used to garner a guilty plea. For example they may offer to dismiss the burglary tools charge in exchange for a plea to the underlying burglary.
This may not always be a significant concession if the Court was ordinarily inclined to run any sentence concurrently with any other sentence (that means at the same time so a defendant serving time would serve both sentences simultaneously). Since South Carolina's law on safecracking (up to thirty years) or burglary (up to life imprisonment) are already so severe, it is generally unlikely that a Court is going to find a need to run a burglary tools sentence consecutively (that means starting after the other sentences are completed). In any case, however, it is important that you involve a Lexington criminal attorney as soon as possible.
Examining the Possible Defenses in Lexington, SC
Defendants who are charged with possession of burglary tools pursuant to S.C. § 16-11-20 should know that they may have several defenses available, including whether or not the item was actually possessed with sufficient evidence of an intent that they be used in a crime. This essentially just means that it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove that you had actually intended to use these tools in a burglary. Since possession of "burglary tools" is not a crime in itself—as they may include crowbars, flashlights, screwdrivers, etc.—it must be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the items were going to be used during the commission of a crime. A Lexington criminal lawyer at our firm can help protect you against any such accusations.
Contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC Today
If you have been accused of possessing burglary tools in South Carolina, it is imperative that you act quickly and speak to an experienced legal professional. Not only could this offense enhance an existing burglary charge, but it may give a jury more reason to believe that you are guilty of committing a property crime. For this reason, the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC encourage you to get in touch with a Lexington criminal defense attorney at the firm today. You have nothing to lose by picking up the phone and
calling our office at (888) 301-6004, as all initial consultations are free. Our knowledgeable staff can subsequently arrange for you to meet with a lawyer face-to-face, wherein you can get started on developing a solid defense strategy.