Among the intricacies of Texas criminal law, there is a category known as Inchoate Offenses or unfinished crimes. These make it a crime to essentially take a step toward another crime. But what if you were not intending to commit a crime and your action was misinterpreted? Your innocent action should not subject you to criminal penalties.
Texas Penal Code §16.01 Unlawful Use of Criminal Instrument or Mechanical Security Device is one example of crime where a seeming step toward criminal activity is penalized as a crime all its own. If you have been accused of this offense, the dedicated team at Barbieri Law Firm can uphold your rights, defend you against the charges, and work to gain the best outcome in your case.
Understanding Unlawful Use of Criminal Instrument or Mechanical Security Device
Essentially, Texas Penal Code §16.01 addresses the illegal possession or manufacture of specific tools or devices that can be used to commit crimes. These might include lock picks, master keys, or any other instrument primarily designed to break into buildings, rooms, or containers. Texas wants to ensure that individuals with questionable intentions don’t have ready access to these tools.
But merely possessing these instruments or devices is not enough to constitute a violation. To be found guilty, the prosecution must prove that you either intended to use the tool to commit a crime or that you made or set up the device to enable someone else to use it to commit a crime. Your attorney may be able to demonstrate that you had another purpose for owning, installing, or adapting the device. At the very least, your defense team can work to show that other uses of the device are common and that the prosecution has not satisfactorily proven your criminal intent. To build the best defense, your team should begin investigating as soon as possible.
Consequences of a Conviction
The penalties for a violation of Texas Penal Code Ann. §16.01 vary depending on the severity of the crime prosecutors believe you planned to commit with the tools involved. As a general rule, the fine and potential term of incarceration would be one category lower than the crime that prosecutors believe you had planned to commit.
But when discussing the consequences of a conviction, you need to be aware that these involve more than the immediate criminal penalties the state may impose. The legal ramifications of such a violation can ripple out, affecting multiple facets of your life for years to come.
First, there’s the obvious criminal record. A conviction, even if it doesn’t result in jail time, can leave a permanent mark on your record. This record can be accessed in various background checks, making seemingly straightforward endeavors like renting an apartment, securing a job, or even volunteering at your child’s school a challenge.
Next, there’s the potential for increased scrutiny in future legal matters. Once you have a mark on your record, any subsequent legal infractions, even minor ones, can be viewed in a harsher light. Past convictions can influence decisions on bail, sentencing, or probation consideration in the future.
Moreover, there are potential civil consequences. If your possession or use of a criminal instrument led to any damages, victims could sue for compensation in civil court. Such lawsuits can result in additional financial burdens and even further damage to your reputation.
Finally, you should consider the lasting impact on your legal rights. Depending on the severity of the conviction, you might lose certain rights like voting, owning a firearm, or qualifying for specific licenses or permits. All of these extended legal impacts underscore the vital importance of addressing any charges related to Unlawful Use of Criminal Instrument or Mechanical Security Device with utmost seriousness and with the best legal defense available.
How We Can Help
Accusations and legal proceedings can be daunting. If you or someone you know is facing charges under Texas Penal Code Ann. §16.01, it’s essential to remember that every individual has rights, but you can unintentionally forfeit those rights if you don’t know how to protect them. The key is to partner with a legal team that’s both experienced and dedicated.
At Barbieri Law Firm, P.C., there’s no challenge we can’t handle. Our team is uniquely skilled to fight for your rights. This stellar legal team will immediately begin to work on time-sensitive issues critical to building the strongest defense for your case.
Call Barbieri Law Firm today at 972-424-1902 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our dedicated Texas criminal defense team so we can start protecting your future.