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Old 01-25-2013, 20:24   #134
void *
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First, you are not telling me anything I don't know.

Second, lock picks are different from other tools in the sense that gloves, bolt cutters, a gerber, and coat hangers all have various uses that do not involve opening a device that is primarily intended for security - while lock picks are specifically a tool to open locks, devices which are primarily intended for security.

Third, the Virginia state statute declares that mere possession is prima facie evidence of intent.

You can claim that "possession with intent" is the key to the offense, but when the law says that mere possession is prima facie evidence of intent, then they don't have to prove intent unless *you* can show evidence you had no intent.

Your statement about Texas is what I had stated about Texas - precisely because Texas is not a prima facie state with respect to intent for burglary tools. Perhaps you should actually read what I wrote?

Originally Posted by void * View Post
The Texas statute, on the other hand, merely states that possession of burglary tools with the purpose to commit an offense is a crime. Which means the state would have to show that you both possessed such tools and had the purpose to commit an offense, simultaneously.
So say you're in Virginia, not Texas.

You get caught breaking into someone's house with a flashlight, some gloves, and a screwdriver, they're going to be considered "burgurious tools" in Virginia (and a lot of other places, for that matter, including Texas). They're basically going to argue that you are a burglar, those are your tools, and therefore, those tools are your tools for burglary - and you'll get the extra charge.

But say the cop sees gloves in your garage. What's his argument? He doesn't have one.

The cop sees lock picks in your garage. What's his argument? He can argue that you don't have a locksmith license, that picks are only used to pick locks, and that you possessed them. Then they'll cite 18.2-94 of the Virginia code, which states in part "The possession of such burglarious tools, implements or outfit by any person other than a licensed dealer, shall be prima facie evidence of an intent to commit burglary, robbery or larceny." Guess what? You now have to prove you didn't have intent - precisely because the law states that mere possession is prima facie evidence of intent.

You may be able to possess lockpicks in Virginia. It may not be outright illegal. But you'd better be ready and willing to prove that you don't intend to ever use them for burglary, because if it ever comes up, the prosecution will not have to prove that you intended to use them for burglary - you will have to show you did not.

Whereas in Texas it's merely a good idea to be able to prove that you don't intend to use them for burglary (which is why I said that "they would do well to have a bunch of practice locks and some books on lockpicking and locksmithing whenever they take picks anywhere but their home". Mere possession won't be considered evidence of intent. However, if they try to argue that some circumstance beyond your control is evidence of intent - like, say, proximity to a jewelry store that you didn't necessarily even know existed - it will be better for you if you can show that it is your hobby. Not just by what you have with you - but also how long it's been your hobby, etc. If you happen to be on the way, or coming home from, a gathering of people who pick locks for fun, you'd probably rather be able to tell a cop "No, no, I'm headed to a meeting of hobby lockpickers, that's why I've got these picks, these practice locks, and these books" if something strange ever happened. Of course, I am not a lawyer, and people should consult one if they feel it is necessary).

Now, do I think that a cop *would* charge you merely for having picks in your garage in plain view, in Virginia? That's a different question entirely. The point is that in Virginia, he technically *could*, and it would not be on the state to prove your intent - it would be on you to prove your lack of intent.

Again, I find it funny that you're trying to argue around something that is so plainly true. Why can't you just admit you were wrong when you were making accusations that I didn't understand what prima facie meant? Why do you decide to instead state something that I myself had stated (i.e. that in Texas they have to show both that you possessed them and that you had intent) as though I didn't know it already?
"The human mind is seldom satisfied, and is not justifiable by any natural process whatsoever, as regards geometry, our universe differs only slightly from a long-term, bi-directional, single trait selection experiment." -- Maxwell/Einstein/Johansson

Last edited by void *; 01-25-2013 at 21:13..
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