Definition and Aspects of Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices:
Destructive or explosive devices are extremely dangerous to not only the person but their immediate surroundings if accidentally discharged. Under California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710), it is against the law to possess destructive or explosive devices. This is a misdemeanor, or potential felony-level offense, that could result in expensive fines, jail or prison time, and the permanent loss of rights to possess firearms.
To be convicted of California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710), the Prosecution must prove the following:
- The Defendant possessed a destructive or explosive device
- The Defendant was aware of its presence
- The Defendant was aware that the item in possession was a destructive or explosive device
Under California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710), destructive device examples include, but are not limited to:
- Rocket launchers of any kind
- Cannons of any kind
- Antique cannons do not fall under this statute
- Molotov cocktails
- Tracer bullets or incendiary bullets
- Incendiary bullets specifically manufactured for shotguns do not fall under this category
- Grenades, bombs, explosive missiles, and other machines created for the purpose of launching projectiles
- Any device greater than .60 caliber that is capable of firing ammunition
- Antique shotguns do not fall under this statute
- Any sealed devices containing dry ice put together with the intent of creating an explosion
The law defines possession as being in control of an object. There are two types of possession:
- Actual Possession
- Constructive Possession
‘Actual possession’ refers to having the assault weapon on the person of the Defendant. This means carrying it in their hand, in a purse, belt, or any other place where they have direct, physical control over the object.
On the other hand, ‘constructive possession’ is referring to something not physically on the person, but in a place that they own or have indirect control over—for example, their house, car, or office.
Criminal Offenses Related to Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices:
Similar or related offenses to California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710), possession of destructive or explosive devices:
- Armed with a Firearm – California Penal Code 12022 (PC 12022)
- Manufacturing, Selling or Possessing Dangerous Weapons – California Penal Code 16590 (PC 16590)
- Felony with a Firearm – California Penal Code 29800 (PC 29800)
Examples of Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices:
A woman is arrested. During the search the police conduct, it is discovered that she’s carrying a Molotov cocktail on her. She could be charged with California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710), possession of a destructive or explosive device.
A man purchases a grenade at an antique auction with the purpose of displaying it at his office. The seller at the show assures him that it is decommissioned and it’s simply for decoration. If the grenade turns out to be functioning and real, the man would still not be charged with California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710), possession of destructive or explosive devices, because he was under the impression that it wasn’t functional as a weapon.
On the other hand, if the man knew it was in working condition and still chose to purchase and display it, he would be violating the statute and could be charged with California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710).
Defenses to Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices:
Similar to the example above, if the Defendant was not aware that he/she was in possession of a working destructive device, he/she would not be in violation of this statute. For California Penal Code 18710 (PC 18710), it is required that the person accused of it was aware that it was a destructive device and willingly had possession of it.
If the Defendant was not aware of the presence of the weapon at all, he/she would not be violating the statute, and the charges could be dismissed.
Lastly, the defense could question the legality of the search. If the search and seizure were carried out without a legitimate warrant, justification, or proper authorization, the evidence becomes inadmissible in court. A good defense attorney would use this as a basis for dismissal of the case against the Defendant.
Consequences and Penalty for Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices:
Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices (PC 18710) is a ‘wobbler’ offense, which means that it could be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the details of the crime and the Defendant’s criminal history.
If it’s charged as a misdemeanor, the punishment is up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
If the Defendant is convicted of a felony, the sentence increases to 16 months – 3 years in state prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Additionally, the Defendant would lose his/her right to possess any firearm for the rest of his or her life.
Lastly, the Defendant would have to forfeit the weapon or explosive, and the device would be destroyed.
Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices (PC 18710), under California Penal Code 18710, is a ‘wobbler’ offense that can result in jail or prison time and serious fines. It is imperative that if you are charged with the Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices, you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
For an experienced attorney in your corner, Action Lavitch from Action Defense Lawyers is available 24/7 at (747) DEFEND U or (747) 333-3638. With a proven track record and speaking both English and Spanish, Action Lavitch and the team from Action Defense Lawyers provide skilled legal representation and professional advice. Having an above 90% success rate for clients, Action Defense Lawyers is the go-to for those charged with California Penal Code Section 18710 (PC 18710), Possession of Destructive or Explosive Devices. Book a free consultation today.