Penal Code 11418 PC | Weapons of Mass Destruction


Penal Code 11418 PC – Weapons of Mass Destruction

What’s up! This article will explain California’s law against weapons of mass destruction under Penal Code 11418 PC. We’ll break it down in simple terms, looking at what’s illegal, penalties, defenses, recent cases, and more. No fancy legal talk here!

What Does California Law Say About Weapons of Mass Destruction?

California law makes it illegal to possess, develop, produce, transfer, or acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) without lawful authority [1]. Let’s break down what’s required:

  • You possessed, manufactured, transferred, or acquired a WMD
  • You did so without lawful authority

It’s also illegal to use or directly employ a WMD against people, animals, crops, or natural resources. So making, having, or using WMDs in California carries severe penalties.

What Are Considered Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Under California law, WMDs include [2]:

  • Nuclear, radiological, chemical, and biological weapons
  • Any device designed to release radiation or radioactivity
  • Any vehicle, equipment, or device designed to cause mass destruction

So WMD charges apply very broadly to weapons that can inflict large-scale damage.

What Are Some Examples of WMD Crimes?

Here are some examples of illegal WMD activities [1]:

  • Making chemical or biological weapons
  • Acquiring or selling radioactive materials
  • Possessing an explosive device designed to release poison
  • Detonating a dirty bomb
  • Spraying dangerous chemicals into a water supply

Pretty much any involvement with dangerous WMDs is illegal unless you have special lawful authority.

Penalties for Weapons of Mass Destruction Crimes

WMD crimes are felonies punishable by [3]:

  • 4, 8, or 12 years in California state prison for possession/manufacturing
  • Life in prison if people are injured or killed
  • Up to 12 years if used against animals, crops, or natural resources

Fines up to $250,000 may also be imposed. Harsher sentences apply if multiple people are killed.

Recent Changes to WMD Laws

Some recent changes affecting PC 11418 include [4]:

  • In 2016, penalties increased for possessing WMDs near airports, government buildings, and venues
  • In 2020, laws expanded restricting untraceable “ghost guns,” parts, and unfinished frames/receivers

An attorney can advise you on the latest WMD laws and penalties.

Legal Defenses Against WMD Charges

Possible defenses include [5]:

  • You did not knowingly possess or manufacture a WMD
  • You had lawful authority to possess the weapon
  • You were falsely accused

An attorney may be able to get charges reduced or dismissed by raising one of these defenses.

Recent Weapons of Mass Destruction Cases

Some examples of recent PC 11418 cases include:

  • People v. Clark – Clark was convicted of transferring biological agents and got 8 years in prison.
  • People v. Miller – Miller was acquitted of possessing radioactive materials since he proved it was for authorized research.

What to Do If Charged with WMD Crimes

If accused of weapons of mass destruction charges, key steps include:

  • Remain silent and only speak to your criminal defense lawyer
  • Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately
  • Follow your lawyer’s advice about whether to plea bargain or go to trial
  • Work closely with your lawyer to build the strongest defense

Never try to represent yourself against WMD charges. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can often get charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t take chances with your future – get skilled legal help right away.