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Penal Code 18710 PC | Possession of a Destructive Device or Explosives

Penal Code 18710 PC | Possession of a Destructive Device or Explosives

Being accused of possessing a destructive device or explosives can be scary. But try not to freak out–let’s break down what Penal Code 18710 PC actually means, what the penalties are, and what your defense options are. I’ll explain it all in simple terms, so you can understand what’s going on.

What Does Penal Code 18710 PC Prohibit?

This law makes it illegal to possess bombs, grenades, rockets with a propellant charge over 4 ounces, missiles having an explosive charge over 1/4 ounce, mines, or similar devices. Basically, anything that can cause substantial damage or harm to people or property. There are some exceptions though–you can possess ammunition greater than .60 caliber, or destructive devices as part of your job if you’re in the military, law enforcement, or fire department.

To be convicted under PC 18710, the prosecution has to prove a few things:

  • You possessed a destructive device
  • You knew you possessed it
  • You knew it was a destructive device

So if you accidentally or unknowingly had something that turned out to be a destructive device, you’re not guilty under this law.

What are the Penalties for a PC 18710 Conviction?

A PC 18710 violation can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, known as a “wobbler.” How it’s charged depends on the facts of your case and your criminal history.

If charged as a misdemeanor, you face up to 1 year in county jail. As a felony, you face 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in state prison. The court can also order you to pay a fine up to $10,000.

There are increased penalties if you possessed the destructive device:

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2024-02-24
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  • On a public street or near a building open to the public
  • With intent to intimidate, terrify, injure or commit murder
  • And it caused injury or death

In those cases, you’ll face additional prison time. You’ll also lose your right to own firearms if convicted.

What are the Best Defenses to PC 18710 Charges?

There are several ways your attorney can get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether. Here are some of the most common defenses:

  • You didn’t actually possess it – If someone planted it in your car or home without your knowledge, you weren’t in possession.
  • You didn’t know it was a destructive device – If you thought it was something harmless, you didn’t have criminal intent.
  • You had a valid permit – Certain professions can legally possess destructive devices with a permit.
  • Illegal search – If police found the device through an illegal search, the evidence may be suppressed.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can evaluate the details of your case and decide the best defense strategy to pursue.

Related Offenses

There are other similar explosives and weapons charges in California law. Some of the most common related offenses include:

  • PC 18720 – Possessing materials to make a destructive device
  • PC 18730 – Selling or transporting a destructive device
  • PC 18740 – Possessing a destructive device to intimidate, terrify, or injure
  • PC 18750 – Exploding a device and causing injury
  • PC 18755 – Exploding a device and causing great bodily injury or mayhem

The penalties get harsher if your actions were intentional or malicious, or if injury resulted.

Hiring an Attorney

Being charged with possessing weapons or explosives is extremely serious. But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help minimize the penalties and consequences. Don’t take chances with your future–get a free consultation today.

 

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