Lostreb wrote:From what I have been able to gather, in 90% of the states, it is NOT illegal to carry a set of lockpicks, however, if you are caught picking a lock...... ANY KIND OF LOCK, then you'd better be able to prove that you are a licensed locksmith. I think this applies to all states but not to Washington, DC. It IS illegal to have a lockpick in your possession in DC unless you are licensed.
If anyone has anything different to add or to contradict, please do so as I am not an expert.......YET!
Most states laws regarding possession lump lock picks among "burglar tools" which they define rather broadly. California's laundry list includes "screwdriver" as well as "picklock" among many other items.
Additionally, in most cases possession in itself isn't a crime without criminal intent. Having lock picks or a crowbar while hanging around the back door of a jewelry store at night would (or at least should) be interpreted differently than having them in your home workshop.
Intent is often left up to a jury to determine. Possession of burglar tools is often used as a back-up charge to burglary, vandalism, or some other crime. This is general advice regarding the majority of US state laws and may vary. A lot is up to the discretion of the police officer stopping you, the prosecuting attorney and ultimately a judge or jury if it gets that far.