Are Lockpicks Illegal in Colorado?

Lock picking is an intriguing skill that has been portrayed in various movies and TV shows as a tool for breaking into secured places. However, in reality, lock picking is a skill that is valued by locksmiths and security professionals to help people in emergencies when they lose their keys or are locked out of their properties.

are lockpicks illegal in colorado? infographics by Emma Marshal

Colorado, like many other states, has specific laws and regulations regarding lock picking tools. Understanding the intricate web of lock picking laws in Colorado is crucial for locksmiths and enthusiasts to ensure they navigate their craft within legal boundaries. Are Lockpicks Illegal in Colorado? We will explore the answer in this article.

Are Lockpicks Illegal in Colorado?

Lock picking is not illegal in Colorado depending on the intent of lock picking. Lock picking is legal in Colorado when done with the owner’s permission or by a licensed locksmith.

It becomes illegal to use a lock pick set when it is used without the permission of the property’s landlord or used for locks other than those which are not in your possession. So using the lock picks on your locks or with the permission of the property’s landlord is completely legal in Colorado.

Is Owning/Carrying a Lockpick Set Legal in Colorado?

Exploring the realm of lock picking legality raises important questions for locksmiths, hobbyists, and security enthusiasts alike. Individuals often inquire, “Are lock picking kits illegal?” and “Is owning a lock pick set illegal?” Understanding the legal status of lockpicks and lockpicking tools is crucial, as it can vary from place to place.

Lockpick laws by state play a significant role in shaping these regulations. While some jurisdictions may consider certain lockpicking tools illegal, others may permit their use under specific circumstances.

Navigating these intricacies involves a comprehensive examination of the laws and regulations in one’s region to determine whether possessing an illegal lock pick set is a concern.

The legal status of lockpicks and similar tools in Colorado defines whether possessing, using, or distributing lockpicking tools is permissible, impacting locksmiths and security professionals across the state.

Colorado has specific laws regarding the possession and use of lockpicking tools. While lockpicks are generally legal to own, they can become illegal if they are used for unlawful purposes. The intent behind possessing lockpicks plays a crucial role in determining whether the possession is legal or illegal.

Lock picking restrictions in Colorado outline the specific circumstances under which lock picking can be employed, emphasizing the importance of responsible and lawful locksmith practices.

Lock picking legality depends on finding a careful balance between skilled locksmith work and the potential legal consequences. This requires taking a close look at the laws in place and considering ethical aspects as well.

Reasons Why Is it Illegal to Own Lock Picks in Colorado?

Some of the reasons as to why is it illegal to own lock pick sets in Colorado are that people may own them with some criminal intent, or federal law may not allow this or these tools may be considered as tools of theft or burglary under the law. These reasons are discussed below:

1. Criminal Intent

When people have no intent of breaking into cars or homes with the help of lock picks, then it is considered legal to own them and use them as well but when the lock pick tools are possessed with a criminal intent to break into other people’s home to steal their things then it is considered illegal to own lock picks in Colorado.

This does not mean that all people who possess these sets are criminals. Many people buy them for practicing their hobby of lock picking or adopt this as a lock sport or own them if they are professional locksmiths. In this scenario, it is legal to own lock picks in Colorado.

2. Violation of Law

Federal Law prohibits the possession of lock pick sets. So owning lock pick sets in Colorado may also be considered illegal for the same reasons. Keeping lock picks or any other picking tool for unlocking in the absence of the right key falls under this law as a violation because their use may fall to entering into other people’s homes without their permission.

This law considers possession only ignoring the fact of their usage, whether you have used it or not, you become eligible for criminal charges against you.

3. Tools of Destruction & Theft

Another reason why owning a lock pick set and bump keys is deemed illegal is due to their association with tools for destructive purposes and theft.

These tools are explicitly crafted to breach security barriers such as safes, doors, and cars. If someone were to employ these tools to gain unauthorized access to your home or vehicle, it would constitute breaking and entering – an offense that holds legal consequences in almost every state across the United States.

This concept is reinforced by the Colorado Revised Statutes under § 18-4-205(1), which addresses the possession of burglary tools. According to this statute, an individual is considered to possess burglary tools if they have in their possession any explosive, tool, instrument, or other item that is adapted, designed, or commonly utilized to aid in committing offenses involving forceful entry into premises or theft through physical means.

The statute further stipulates that this possession violates the law if the person intends to use the item for such unlawful purposes or if they are aware that someone intends to do so.

Legal Terms of Lock Picks illegality/legality in Colorado

In the US, the legality of lock picking differs from state to state.  Examining the rules around possession of lock picks in Colorado highlights the legal considerations that locksmiths and hobbyists must take into account.

Delving into the legality of lock picks reveals a complex landscape of regulations, where factors such as intent, context, and local laws determine whether their possession and use are deemed lawful.

We must dissect three clear legal definitions which help in figuring out whether “Are lock picks illegal in Colorado?” or not and also understand which term applies to the state of Colorado.

Prima Facie Evidence

prima facie evidence for showing legality or illegality of lock picking

This evidence is true and considered true until disapproval is established. So in the case of lock picking, if a person gets caught with lock picks and other related tools, prima facie evidence is established that the person possessing them intended to use them for illegal purposes. This term is not applicable in Colorado. It applies to states like Ohio, Nevada, and Virginia.

Must Show Intent

Intent plays a vital role in finding out the legality or illegality of lock picks in Colorado. If a person has lock picking tools or related lock picks and no evidence exists that he intends to use them for illegal activities then he is not guilty of any crime. This way lock picks are not considered illegal in Colorado.

must show intent law in case to show legality or illegality of lock picking

However, if evidence proves that the lock picks were held to perform some unauthorized activities other than in the space of personal possessions or of the landlord or as a locksmithing practice, then lock picks are considered illegal in Colorado. There are 38 other states which follow the law under this term.

So the lock pickers must be clear about showing their intent to fall under legal lock pickers in Colorado.

No specific laws

The ownership of lock picks is given the status of legal in some states as there are no specific laws addressing lock picking and possession of their tools. Colorado does not fall in this category because it has defined circumstances for proving the illegality or legality of lock picks.

no specific law to show legality of lock picking by

Arkansas, Indiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia fall under this category.

Tabular Presentation of Related Law

The intersection of lock picking and the law in Colorado raises questions about intent, context, and permission, impacting locksmiths, law enforcement, and property owners alike.

Lockpicking within the context of Colorado’s criminal code delves into how this skill may be viewed and treated under the law, affecting locksmiths and individuals alike. The laws surrounding theft tools in Colorado impact the possession and use of lockpicking tools, requiring locksmiths and hobbyists to be aware of legal boundaries.

Understanding Colorado’s laws related to burglary tools is crucial for locksmiths and individuals, as these regulations influence the legality of possessing and using lock picking tools.

State Related Law Interpretation
Colorado 2016 Colorado Revised Statutes

Title 18 – Criminal Code

Article 4 – Offenses Against Property

Part 2 – Burglary and Related Offenses

§ 18-4-205. Possession of burglary tools


Exploring the legality of lock manipulation in Colorado unveils the nuances surrounding techniques used by locksmiths and potential implications in different scenarios.

If someone possesses any tool or explosive that is commonly used for committing theft or breaking into premises with the intent to use it in such an offense, it is considered possession of burglary tools, which is a class 5 felony. So lock picking is legal otherwise in the state of Colorado.


Source : Possession of Burglary Tools – Colorado Law – CRS § 

Understanding the Importance of Legal Implications of Lock Picks Usage in Colorado with Real-Life Examples

Imagine that you lock yourself out of your house and decide to use a lock pick to get back in. If a neighbor sees you and reports you to the police, you could be charged with a crime and face fines or even jail time. Or Imagine that you work as a locksmith in Colorado and accidentally leave your lock picking tools in your car. If you are pulled over and the police find the tools, you could be arrested and charged with a crime.

These examples demonstrate just how important it is to understand the legal implications of owning and using lock picks in Colorado. You must  use lock picking tools responsibly and within legal boundaries to avoid any legal consequences.

Consequences of Violating Lock Picking Laws in Colorado

Violating lock picking laws in Colorado can have serious legal consequences.

If someone is caught with lock picks without a valid license, they could face fines and even jail time. If lock picks are used to gain unauthorized access to someone else’s property, the consequences can be even more severe.

legal consequences of lock picking in Colorado state of the USA, shown symbolically with a man handcuffed sitting behind jail bars

In addition to fines and jail time, the individual may also face civil lawsuits from the property owner. It is important to understand the legal implications of owning and using lock picks in Colorado to avoid any legal trouble.

It is always best to use lock picking tools responsibly and within legal boundaries.

How to Become a Licensed Locksmith in Colorado

To become a licensed locksmith in Colorado, you need to meet the state’s license requirement education requirements for training and education of locksmiths. These locksmith requirements colorado typically include completing an approved locksmith training program, passing a criminal background check, and obtaining liability insurance.

Once you have met these requirements, you can apply for a locksmith license from the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools. It is important to note that using lock picks without a valid license can result in serious legal consequences, so it is always best to operate within legal boundaries.


When it comes to lock picking, there is a complex interplay of legal considerations. People often wonder, “Are lock picking kits illegal?” and “Are lockpicks legal?” The legality of lock picking tools, including owning a lock pick set, can vary widely depending on the jurisdiction.

Each state has its own set of lockpick laws, and what might be considered an illegal lock pick set in one state could be perfectly legal in another.

Navigating this landscape requires a thorough understanding of lockpick laws by state, as well as a clear awareness of what constitutes an illegal lock pick set within those legal frameworks.

Lock picks themselves are not illegal in Colorado. However, their possession and use come with significant responsibilities. Lock picking should be treated as a valuable skill meant to assist individuals in emergencies rather than a means to engage in illegal activities.

Understanding and complying with Colorado’s laws regarding lock picking tools is crucial to avoid any legal issues.


Are lockpicks illegal?

The legality of lock picks varies depending on your jurisdiction. In some places, lockpicks may be considered illegal burglary tools if possessed without a valid reason or authorization. It’s important to understand the laws in your area before owning or using lock picking tools.

In what states are lock picks illegal?

Lock picks are considered illegal in all states if they are used with criminal intent.

Are lock picking kits illegal?

The legality of lock picking kits is a subject of inquiry, as their status varies by jurisdiction and hinges on factors like intent, usage, and local laws that influence locksmiths, hobbyists, and security professionals.

Can I Use Lock Picks to Help Someone in an Emergency?

Yes, lock picks can be used to assist someone who is locked out of their property or vehicle, but only with their explicit permission.

Can I Sell Lock picks legally?

Selling lock picks can be legal in Colorado, but it is crucial to comply with all relevant laws and regulations.


  1.  Possession of Burglary Tools – Colorado Law – CRS § 
  2. BEGINNERS GUIDE TO LOCK PICKING March 11, 2019 by Ashley Adamant
  3. Lock Picking Encyclopedia
  4. Secrets of lock picking S. Hampton Published 1 April 1987
  5. Lock Picking for Survival

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