Possession of an Instrument of Crime Law and Legal Definition

Possession of an instrument of crime is a criminal charge governed primarily by state laws, which vary by state. Such a charge is typically brought in cases involving drugs or weapons. The following is an example of a state law dealing with possession of an instrument of crime:

§ 907. Possessing an Instrument of Crime

(c) Definitions.--As used in this section the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

"Instrument of crime."

  1. Anything specially made or specially adapted for criminal use; or
  2. anything commonly used for criminal purposes and possessed by the actor under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses it may have. This shall include, but not be limited to, common burglary tools, tire irons, stun guns and baseball bats.


Anything readily capable of lethal use and possessed under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful uses which it may have. The term includes a firearm which is not loaded or lacks a clip or other component to render it immediately operable, and components which can readily be assembled into a weapon.