Possession of Break-in Instrument

Possession of Break-in Instrument

The offence of possession of break-in instruments is outlined in section 351(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of possession of break-in instruments when they have any tool or device that could be used to break into any place, motor vehicle, vault, or safe, knowing that this tool or device has been used or is meant to be used for this purpose.

Examples

Person A walks around a mall parking lot holding a crowbar, intending to use this crowbar to break into cars to steal items left inside them.

Person B gives person C a lockpicking kit that person C knows person B has used to break into several safes.

Person D is found lurking outside of a private residence with lock picking tools and a crowbar.

Cases

R. v. Boyd, 2015 ONCJ 120

In R. v. Boyd, the accused was convicted of one count of possession of break-in instruments when a homeowner saw the accused attempting to pry open the homeowner’s balcony door with a metal shovel.

R. v. Sparks, 2006 CanLII 12431 (ON SC)

In R. v. Sparks, the accused was convicted of one count of possession of break-in instruments when police found a pry bar that he had used to break into a Giant Tiger store in his vehicle after chasing him from this store.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

No Knowledge

Where the person is not aware that the tools or devices they are carrying could be or were used to break into a place, motor vehicle, vault, or safe, they may not have completed the offence of possession of break-in instruments.

No Intention

Where the person does not intend to use the tools or devices they possess to break into a place, motor vehicle, vault, or safe, they may not have completed the offence of possession of break-in instruments.

For example, where person A has acquired an unused lockpicking kit to add to their collection of vintage lockpicking kits, they may not have completed the offence of possession of break-in instruments.

Lawful Excuse

Where the person has a lawful excuse to have these tools or devices, they may not have completed the offence of possession of break-in instruments. A lawful excuse could include owning something that needs to be broken into or having permission from the owner to break into something using break-in tools.

For example, where person A needs to break into their own car because they locked their keys inside, they have not completed the offence of possession of break-in instruments for having the necessary tools or devices to do so.

Legal Information on Demand:

  • Affordable

  • 6 Modules
  • 1 Hour of Video
  • 3.5 Hour Audiobook
  • 125 Pages
  • Instant Access

More Legal Information

Law Newbie™ is a free legal assistant developed by our criminal lawyers to help you understand the law.

Fingerprint

In criminal cases, there are very strict rules governing what evidence can be used and how it can be used.

The rights enjoyed of all those within Canada are contained in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Criminal procedure is the process by which an accused person is arrested and brought through the justice system.

Sentencing refers to the punishment that is ordered when an individual is found guilty of a criminal offence.

Firearm Smoke

Offences in Canada are listed in the Criminal Code. They include crimes related to people, vehicles and weapons.