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NY Penal Law § 140.35: Possession of burglar`s tools

Burglary is a criminal offense that involves unlawfully entering a building or unlawfully remaining in a building with the intent to commit a crime. It is a felony. However, it is also a crime to possess tools that typically used to commit a burglary. Such items are referred to as "burglar's tools." Burglar's tools can be almost any item. Under New York Penal Law section 140.35, a burglar's tools as "any tool, instrument or other article adapted, designed or commonly used for" committing a burglary, theft or trespass. However, merely carry such an item is not enough to be prosecuted under the possession of burglar's tools statute. You must also have the intent to use such item to commit such an offense. It is a class A misdemeanor.


Sullivan is standing at night in the lot behind a store. He is carrying bolt cutters. Sedrick is standing at night in front of his home with a bag that has bolt cutters. Sullivan could be prosecuted for possession of burglar's tools because he is carrying an instrument that is commonly used to commit a burglary under circumstances that make it that he had an intention to commit a burglary. On the other hand Sedrick could not be prosecuted for possession of burglar's tools because although he has a tool that is often used to commit a burglary, the circumstances do not show that he has the intent to commit a burglary or any other criminal offense.

Related Offenses
  1. Criminal trespass in the second degree: New York Penal Law section 140.15
  2. Burglary in the third degree: New York Penal Law section 140.20
  3. Burglary in the second degree: New York Penal Law section 140.25
  4. Burglary in the first degree: New York Penal Law section 140.30

If you have a "burglar's tool" for a lawful reason, then you have a valid defense to a possession of burglar's tools charge. For example, if you are a locksmith who carries around lock picking tools, then you have a lawful reason for having a so-called burglar's tool as long as you only use them for pick a lock at the request for the owner of the property.


Possession of burglar's tools is a class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted the longest prison sentence that you could receive is 1 year. It is also possible that you will be sentence to a probation term of 3 years.

New York Penal Law § 140.35: Possession of burglar's tools

A person is guilty of possession of burglar`s tools when he possesses any tool, instrument or other article adapted, designed or commonly used for committing or facilitating offenses involving forcible entry into premises, or offenses involving larceny by a physical taking, or offenses involving theft of services as defined in subdivisions four, five and six of section 165.15, under circumstances evincing an intent to use or knowledge that some person intends to use the same in the commission of an offense of such character.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though possession of burglar's tools is a misdemeanor, you should take such a charge seriously. The result of a conviction could be that you spend time in jail and you will end up with a criminal record. Thus, if you are charged with possession of burglar's tools it is important that you immediately seek experienced legal guidance. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors in violation of New York state law and federal law. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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