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Possess House Breaking Implements

In NSW it is an offence to possess an item that could be used to break into a house without any legitimate reason for possessing the item. It is also an offence to have an item that could be used to break into or drive a car or other vehicle. A person can be possess house breaking implement if they have in their possession and item that could be used to break into a house, such as a crow bar or screw driver, and they don’t have a legitimate excuse for carrying it. A legitimate excuse may include having the item for your employment or house renovations.

The maximum penalty for this offence is 7 years imprisonment. In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for this charge:

The Offence of Possess House Breaking Implement

The offence of Possess House Breaking Implement is contained in section 114(1)(b) of the Crimes Act 1900 and states that any person who has in their possession, without lawful excuse, any implement of housebreaking or safebreaking, or any implement capable of being used to enter or drive or enter and drive a conveyance is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

What Actions Might Constitute Possess House Breaking Implement?

Examples of actions that could give rise to a charge of possess house breaking implements are:

  • Having a crow bar in your car at all times;
  • Keeping a screw driver in your backpack when you don’t need it for work or any other reason;
  • Carrying a door stop and a straightened wire hanger with a hook on the end that could be used to wedge the door of the car open and hook and unlock the button; or
  • Being found to have a signal jamming or code grabbing device in your pocket which can be used to gain entry to keyless entry cars with no good excuse.

What the Police Must Prove?

To convict a person of possess house breaking implement the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That they were in possession of an item;
  • That the item could be used to break into a house or car; and
  • That you had no lawful excuse to have that item.

Possible Defences for Possess House Breaking Implement

A person charged with this offence may defend the charge by arguing that:

  • They were not in possession of the item;
  • The item could not be used to break into a house or car;
  • They had a lawful excuse for possessing that item, such as employment or recreational activities; or
  • To raise necessity or duress as the reason for their conduct.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

The offence is a table one offence which means it will be finalised in the Local Court unless the Department of Public Prosecutions or the person who has been charged elects to have the matter finalised in the District Court.

If the matter remains in the Local Court the court can only impose a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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