Sec 466 of the California Penal Code penalizes the possession of burglary tools. These tools are as follows:

1)      Crowbar;

2)     Slim Jim;

3)     Picklock;

4)     Master Key, either home or vehicle;

5)     Screwdriver;

6)     Pliers;

7)     Ceramic or porcelain spark plug chips or pieces;

8)    Any other instrument or tool that can be used to break or enter into a car, building or other space in an unlawful manner;

What is important in this crime is not just the possession, but such possession has criminal intent to use them to commit a burglary or some other criminal act. In addition, possession is not just the act being penalized, but the act of making, altering or attempting to make or alter the aforementioned tools for the commission of burglary. The criminal intent is proven through circumstantial evidence or such evidence that can provide a reasonable inference that the intent was to be committed.

This crime is prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense and the imposable penalties are up to six (6) months in county prison and payment of a fine up to $1,000. Another additional penalty is probation of up to three years.

The other related offenses to this crime includes the following:

a)     Selling or providing lock picks, tension bars or floor-safe door pullers. This crime is stated in Sec 466.1 of the California Penal Code. The items of the crime includes lock pick, lock pick gun or tubular lock pick, tension bar or floor safe door puller. The law provides that the seller needs to retain the receipt of such sale for one year and the receipt is required to have identifying information together with the signature of the purchaser. The same penalty applies for violation of this crime.

b)     Possession of tools to tamper with coin-operated machines. Sec 466.3 of the California Penal Code criminalizes the act of possession of a key, tool or other instrument that can open, break, tamper or damage a coin operated machine. These machines include vending machines, parking meters, laundry machines or dryers and possession together with intent to steal from the said machine makes the individual liable. This is a misdemeanor offense but the maximum imposable penalty is one year in county jail.

c)      Possession/Manufacture of motor vehicle master keys. Sec 466.5 of the California Penal Code criminalizes the possession or use of motor vehicle master keys or a motor vehicle wheel lock master key with the intent to commit an unlawful act. This act also covers sale or offer or advertising for sale unless these items are used for work purposes. This offense is prosecuted as misdemeanor offense and the penalty imposable is a maximum of six months in county jail and fines amounting to $1,000.

d)     Making car keys. Sec 466.6 of the California Penal Code penalizes the act of manufacturing a key able to operate the ignition of a car through an method other than simple duplication, unless the said act is accompanied with a receipt retained at least two years from the identified maker, the car for which the keys are made and the information of the locksmith who did that. Failure to do so would be subject to misdemeanor penalties up to six months in county prison and payment of a fine of up to $1,000.

e)     Possession of tools to bypass motorcycle ignition. Sec 466.65 of the California Penal Code penalizes the possession, transfer or lending of any of the following:

i.      Device designed to bypass the factory-installed ignition of a motorcycle in order to start it without a key;

ii.      Motorcycle ignition or part thereof or

iii.      Item of hardware such as bolt cutters or wire cutters, electrical tape or allen wrenches.

 

This possession must have the intention to take, drive or facilitate the unlawful taking or driving of a motorcycle. A conviction would mete out a misdemeanor offense count, imprisonment of up to six months in county jail and payment of fines up to $1,000.

f)       Unlawful possession of car keys. Sec 466.7 of the California Penal Code is a misdemeanor offense punished in the same level as Sec 466.6 of the California Penal Code. This law prohibits the possession of motor vehicle key with the knowledge that the said key was made without the owner’s consent and the said key was intended to be used for illegal purposes.

g)     Unlawful manufacture of residential or commercial keys. Sec 466.8 of the California Penal code prohibits any act of an individual  who knowingly and willfully makes a key that is able to open any door or other means of entrance to a home or structure through any method involving onsite inspection of that entry point. To be exempted from this crime, compliance with the receipt requirements must be met. Failure to do so would merit misdemeanor penalties of prison time of six months in county prison and payment of fines up to $1,000.

h)    Possession or Use of Code Grabbing Devices. Sec 466.9 of the California Penal Code penalizes the possession or use of code grabbing devices with the intent to use the same for unlawful purposes. These devices are able to receive and record coded signals sent by a car’s security alarm system for later use to be able to disarm the system. This is prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense and the imposable penalty is six months in county prison and payment of fines up to $1,000.

The crime of possessing burglary tools is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.