Georgia law criminalizes the possession of tools for the commission of a crime. In fact, it is a felony offense. If you are arrested in DeKalbCounty for Possession of Tools, the First Appearance hearing will be the initial court appearance in front of a Judge. This occurs within 48 hours of an arrest without a warrant, or 72 hours if there was an arrest warrant. The DeKalb County Magistrate Judge will notify the person of the charges, as well as set bond at this stage.
If arrested in DeKalb County for Possession of Tools, the case will be prosecuted by the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. The next court date will be the Arraignment and takes place at the DeKalb County Superior Court.
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 and glass break devices. For example, you could be arrested if found looking inside someone’s car windows late at night with a glass break tool in your hand. The tools do not have to do with burglary to fall under this crime. 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 DeKalb County?
The sentence for Possession of Tools is a 1 to 5 year imprisonment sentence. Possession of tools is a felony offense, which is sentenced more harshly than misdemeanors. This is found at O.C.G.A. § 16-7-20.
What are Possible Defenses to Possession of Tools in DeKalb County?
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 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 possession of a tool but it 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. Georgia law has also held a two-by-four was not a tool for purposes of this statute in an Armed Robbery case because it is not commonly used in armed robberies.
The rule of lenity may also apply in felony Possession of Tools cases. 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 DeKalb County or the Atlanta area, W. Scott Smith is here to offer a FREE CONSULTATION at 404-581-0999.