California Penal Code 18720 PC
18720 PC – Possessing Destructive Device Materials
Possessing Destructive Device Materials – Table of Contents
California Penal Code Section 18720 PC – Overview
Possession is a Required Element
Possession is needed to violate PC 18720. Possessing any material that can be used in producing a weapon of mass destruction or an explosive is forbidden unless the owner has the appropriate license. Actual or constructive possession both exist: Actual possession is to have a hazardous or explosive device’s components in one’s actual possession. Whether an object is held in one’s hand, worn on one’s person, or carried in a bag or carrying case does not change the fact that that person possesses it.
On the other hand, constructive possession is considered constructive possession. For a person to be considered to have constructive possession of an item, that item need only be accessible within a reasonable amount of time, such as being in the same room as the possessor or in the same storage facility, or in the custody of a person who is acting as an employee or relative of the possessor.
Taking constructive possession does not necessitate actual contact. A simple authorization is enough to infer that someone has active control over the substance and materials necessary to create dangerous or explosive devices.
Materials of emphasis under Penal Code 18720 PC
Explosive material, blasting agents, and detonators are the three essential components of every explosion. Explosive materials are chemical compounds blended and placed in a device to generate an explosion. Fertilizers, gunpowder, and fuel are the primary components of explosive or destructive devices. An oxidizer must be introduced to create an explosion when those components are mixed. Explosive material also includes dynamite or pellet powder, black powder, safety fuses, squibs, wicks, detonating cords, ignition cords or igniters, and other related items.
Examples of damaging and explosive devices are bombs, grenades, missiles, launching mechanisms, weapons employing bullets greater than 0 .60 calibers, Firecrackers, pipe bombs, poppers, snappers, and flammable liquids stored in fragile containers, sealed devices containing dry ice and reactive chemicals.
California Penal Code Section 18720 PC – Prosecution
A prosecution must establish the following factors to find a defendant guilty of possessing materials used to manufacture a destructive device or an explosive: While in possession of a substance or material, or a combination of substances and materials, with the intent to manufacture an explosive or destructive device, and without a valid permit to manufacture such an explosive or destructive device, the accused is guilty of the crime of restricted material possession.
California Penal Code Section 18720 PC – Penalties
In California, violating PC 18720 carries a severe penalty. If convicted, you might spend up to four years in jail. You would have to serve at least 50 percent of that sentence in detention. You might be fined up to $10,000 and permanently stripped of your Second Amendment firearms rights.
The California Three Strikes statute and Penal Code Section 290 do not apply here. A conviction might result in the revocation of your professional license and, if you are not a legal resident, deportation to Immigration Court because the violation meets the criteria for an aggravated felony and is a crime of moral turpitude.
California Penal Code Section 18720 PC – Related Offenses
California uses various additional criminal offenses to penalize those who produce, possess, or sell illegal goods. These fees might include the following:
- Possession of Burglary Tools is a crime under Section 466 of the California Penal Code.
- Making, selling, or possession of a dangerous weapon is a crime under California Penal Code Section 16590.
- Possession of a Switchblade is a crime under Section 21510 of the Penal Code.
It is possible to face criminal prosecution for weapon possession. California prohibits citizens convicted of a crime from owning or possessing firearms. In addition, there are severe penalties for carrying a firearm in public without legal permission.
California Penal Code Section 18720 PC – Defenses
A California PC 18720 charge is not something you should try to manage on your own. Contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney immediately following an arrest will help you begin developing a strong defense. Your attorney can assess the issue for you. A lawyer could try to prove, depending on the specifics of your case, that:
You Certainly Didn’t Set Out to Make a Weapon of Mass Destruction
To be found guilty under PC 18720, you must have intended to use the materials you were in possession of to construct a weapon of mass destruction. Many of the components of weapons of mass destruction also serve non-malicious purposes. Defending yourself against a PC 18720 charge is possible if your intended use of the contents in your possession is not harmful.
You Were Allowed to Fabricate a Weapon of Mass Destruction
Permission to manufacture weapons of mass destruction or other explosives was indicated before. In California, you cannot be prosecuted for possessing materials for a destructive device if you have valid permission.
The police illegally searched you
When looking for weapons or drugs, police personnel must follow specific protocols. If evidence of materials used to manufacture dangerous devices was found during an unlawful search, the case against you might be dismissed.
We Want to Help
If you or someone close to you are under investigation or arrest for destructive devices, do not make a statement to the authorities without first contacting your criminal defense lawyer.
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How to Win Your Case
We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:
- Don’t ever talk to the police
- Do not discuss your case with anyone
- Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
- Tell police you need to contact your attorney
- Never consent to any search by the police
- If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
- Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
- Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
- Information on your cell phone is evidence
- Early Intervention is the key