Law Concerning the Possession of Destructive Devices
The use of destructive devices or explosives can have drastically negative consequences for bystanders and potential victims. An explosive device can injure a person, damage property, or in worst-case scenarios, result in the death of innocent people. Therefore, it is imperative that items classified as destructive or explosive devices are not used inappropriately or for dangerous plans. According to the Penal Code, it is illegal for a person to possess a destructive or explosive device. By enforcing this law, the state can ensure a greater level of safety for its residents.
What is Considered Possession?
The most important aspect of this law is that the destructive or explosive device does not need to detonate or cause injury in order for a person to be found guilty of said criminal violation. In fact, the prosecution must only prove the defendant’s knowledge and possession of the device. Under California Penal Code Section 18710, the prosecutor must show to the court that the defendant possessed the device, knew they possessed it, and also knew that what they possessed was a destructive/explosive device.
Commonly identified destructive or explosive devices include, but are not limited to, the following: bombs, projectiles with explosive material, grenades, missiles with explosive material, and rockets.
Conviction and Sentencing for Possession
If the prosecution meets its burden, the defendant faces either a misdemeanor or a felony. The difference comes down to the circumstances of the crime (i.e. the facts concerning the specific possession of the device). In the case of a misdemeanor, the defendant faces possible jail time and fines. For a felony, the defendant can be sentenced up to three years in state prison.