A single destructive device – like a bomb – can cause tremendous amounts of property damage, lead to severe injuries, and even result in deaths. For this reason, the state of California has made it illegal to possess:
- Destructive Devices.
- The Materials Used to Create Destructive Devices.
California Penal Code Section 18720: Possessing Destructive Device Materials is used to prosecute individuals found with the materials used in the construction of destructive devices. You can find out more about the direct applications of PC 18720 charges here with the Simmrin Law Group.
Defining the Possession of Destructive Device Materials
According to PC 18720, individuals can be convicted of a felony if they possess substances or materials that they intend to use to make a destructive device. Examples of materials and substances that could be used to create a destructive device can include:
- Certain Fertilizers.
- Blasting Caps.
- Specific Chemicals.
You should be aware that PC 18720 includes an exception for individuals who have a valid permit to construct destructive devices.
Understanding Different Types of Destructive Devices in California
The legal system in California does not provide a set list of materials that can be used in the creation of destructive devices. Any material or substance that can be used to create a destructive device could be covered under PC 18720. Therefore, it is useful to review examples of destructive devices. All of the following items may be considered destructive devices:
- Rockets or Rocket-Propelled Projectiles.
- Breakable Containers Holding Flammable Liquid (Like Molotov Cocktails).
- Closed Devices Containing Dry Ice.
- Grenades or Bombs.
- Certain Types of Ammunition, Such as Tracer Ammunition.
This list does not represent every destructive device in California, only examples of devices that could result in charges under California Penal Code Section 18710: Possessing Destructive Devices. Individuals who possess the components to make any of these devices could face PC 18720 charges.
Considering Charges Like PC 18720
There are other criminal charges in California used to prosecute individuals for creating, possessing, or selling illicit items. Examples of these charges can include:
- California Penal Code Section 466: Possession of Burglary Tools.
- California Penal Code Section 16590: Manufacturing, Selling, or Possessing Dangerous Weapons.
- California Penal Code Section 21510: Possession of a Switchblade.
Individuals can even face criminal charges for possessing a firearm in some circumstances. Individuals convicted of a felony cannot own or possess a firearm in California. Additionally, possessing a firearm in public without a valid permit can result in serious criminal charges.
Reviewing the Results of a PC 18720 Conviction
Possessing the materials to construct a destructive device is considered a felony in California’s court system. An individual convicted under PC 18720 could face the following penalties:
- Fines of Up to $10,000.
- Jail Time of Up to Four Years.
In some cases, individuals may be granted felony probation for a possessing destructive device materials conviction.
Going Over Defenses for PC 18720 Accusations in California
You do not have to try to handle PC 18720 charges on your own in California. You can get help building your case by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer as soon as you are arrested. Your lawyer can review your situation. Depending on the facts of your case, a lawyer could work to show that:
You Did Not Intend to Create a Destructive Device
You must plan to build a destructive device with the materials in your possession to be convicted under PC 18720. Many of the items used in destructive devices have other legitimate uses. If you planned to use the materials in your possession for non-dangerous tasks, you could avoid a PC 18720 conviction.
You Had a Permit to Make a Destructive Device
We mentioned earlier that some people are awarded permits to create explosive or destructive devices. If you have such a permit, you should not be charged with possessing destructive device materials in California.
You Were the Victim of an Illegal Police Search
Police officers must obey certain regulations when searching for dangerous materials. If you were subjected to an illegal search that turned up evidence of materials used to create destructive devices, the case against you could be thrown out.
Getting Help with PC 18720 Charges Today
The professionals at the Simmrin Law Group are here to help you with California Penal Code Section 18720: Possessing Destructive Device Materials charges. You can reach out to us today by calling 310-896-2723 or completing our online contact form.
Start building a strong defense with a FREE consultation from our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles.