Georgia law criminalizes the possession of tools for the
commission of a crime. In fact, it is a felony offense. Not all
tools in your possession will result in criminal charges. The law states it is
unlawful to possession any tool, explosive, or device commonly used in
burglary, theft, or another crime, with the intent to make use thereof in the
commission of a crime.
Examples of tools that can result in criminal charges are
crowbars, hammers, and glass break devices as these are all commonly used in
burglaries and thefts. You could be arrested if found looking inside someone’s
car windows late at night with a glass break tool in your hand, even if there
is no theft. However, not only tools associated with burglary are
criminalized. For example, we routinely see pipes and scales charged as
Possession of Tools, as these items are used to commit crimes of Possession of
Drugs. In these instances, the rule of Lenity applies, which is discussed below
under the Defenses section
What is the sentence for Possession of Tools in Georgia?
The sentence for Possession of Tools is a 1 to 5 year
imprisonment sentence. (See O.C.G.A. § 16-7-20). Possession of tools is a
felony offense, which means it is sentenced more harshly than misdemeanors.
Felonies can take away your civil rights moving forward and can make finding
employment very difficult. For example, if you are convicted of Possession of
Tools, you immediately lose your right to vote and your ability to carry a
What are Possible Defenses to Possession of Tools in
First, the mere possession of a common instrument is not a
crime. A screw driver can be used to commit crimes, but it can also be used for
numerous other lawful purposes. The same goes with wire cutters, flashlights,
and gloves. These items are commonly used for all sorts of lawful and
legitimate activities. The State must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that
there was intent to use the tool to commit a crime. It is an incredibly
high standard, especially since tools are used for so many other purposes.
Additionally, any time contraband is found, a thorough
investigation must be conducted by a criminal defense attorney very quickly
after arrest, into whether or not a valid, lawful, and constitutional search
had occurred. We all have a right to be free from unreasonable searches and
seizures. An officer cannot search your car without probable cause of a crime
occurring, and then later charge you with a felony after finding a tool common
in burglaries. In this instance, the tools found could be suppressed, and the
case subsequently dismissed.
Other defenses fall on whether or not the tool is one that is
commonly used for the commission of the crime. The State must not only prove
that the accused actually possessed a tool, but the tool must be one that is
commonly used to commit crimes. For example, Georgia law has held that body
armor is not a tool commonly used in armed robbery, and thus there is
insufficient evidence to show proof Possession of Tools in that situation.
Georgia law has also held a two-by-four was not a tool for purposes of this
statute in an Armed Robbery case for the same reason: it is not a device
commonly used to commit that crime.
The rule of lenity may also apply in felony Possession of
Tools cases. This means that even if you are charged with a felony, Georgia law
may require you be given a misdemeanor sentence. For example, if the conduct
alleged falls within both felony Possession of Tools and misdemeanor Possession
of Drug Related Object, then the Lenity rule requires that person be subject
to misdemeanor penalties.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for POSSESSION OF
TOOLS in the State of Georgia, W. Scott Smith is here to offer a FREE
CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.