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PC 18710 Possession of a Destructive or Explosive Devices Laws in California- IE-Criminal Defense

PC 18710: Possession of a Destructive or Explosive Devices

Legal Definition: (a) Except as provided by this chapter, any person, firm, or corporation who, within this state, possesses any destructive device, other than fixed ammunition of a caliber greater than .60 caliber, is guilty of a public offense.

To be convicted under PC 18710, the prosecution must establish that you intentionally:

  • Possessed a destructive device
  • Were aware of your possession
  • Recognized that what you possessed constituted a destructive device.

What does this mean?

Destructive Devices encompass a range of hazardous items such as bombs, grenades, explosive missiles, projectiles, and rocket launchers. Penal Code section 16460(a)(1) explicitly defines “destructive device” to include tracer or incendiary ammunition, excluding tracer ammunition specifically manufactured for shotguns. It is pivotal to recognize that this legal provision does not only criminalize the use of such items but also encompasses the mere possession of these devices. Whether or not the intention to utilize the device exists, simple possession remains an offense within our jurisdiction. Furthermore, possession can be established through either actual or constructive means. While actual possession refers to physical ownership of the destructive device, constructive possession pertains to exerting control over the device. It is important to note that multiple individuals can simultaneously possess the same device. However, to secure a conviction under this section, the prosecution is obliged to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had knowledge of their possession of a destructive device. For instance, an individual who receives a bag containing a bomb and, unaware of the contents, decides to retain it would not be considered guilty of possessing a destructive device. However, once the bag is opened, and awareness of its explosive nature is present, the offense of possessing a destructive device can be established.


Having possession of a destructive or explosive device is a wobbler offense. This means you can be charged with this crime as a misdemeanor or as a felony offense. Whether you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor offense is based on the specific facts of your case, as well as your criminal history. If you are convicted of this charge as a misdemeanor offense, you could be sentenced to up to one year in County Jail. If you are convicted of this charge as a felony offense, you could be sentenced to up to 16 months, 2 or 3 years in State Prison. You would be required to serve at least 50% of your time in custody for this offense. You could also be subject to fines upwards of $10,000 for a conviction under this section as a felony. You would also have the device kept by authorities at the end of your case.There is also the possibility of enhanced punishments under this section as described in PC 18715 if you possess the device maliciously or recklessly in or near:

  • A public street or highway,
  • Any theater, hall, school, college, church, hotel, or other public building,
  • Any private residence,
  • Any aircraft, passenger train, car, cable car, or vessel that carries passengers for hire, or
  • Any other public place is ordinarily passed by people.

If any of these sections are shown, you could now be sentenced to up to 2, 4, or 6 years in a State Prison. You would be required to serve at least 50% of that time in custody.This is not a strike offense under the California Three Strikes law, and it is not a Sex Offense under PC 290. You could also face a loss of your Professional License if convicted, and if you are not a legal resident, you would face Deportation in Immigration Court since the offense is deportable, in that it is a crime of using a firearm.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Violation of Rights
  3. Insufficient Evidence

In order to mount a formidable defense against a charge under this specific section, it is imperative to possess authoritative knowledge and expertise. For instance, a valid permit to own or possess a destructive or explosive device can serve as a robust defense. By lawfully acquiring such a permit, it acts as an affirmative defense that can result in the dismissal of your case.

Additionally, a common defense strategy can revolve around the potential violation of your constitutional rights by law enforcement officials during a search. This often occurs when your rights against illegal and unlawful searches or seizures are infringed upon. Frequently, the possession of these devices takes place at one’s residence. If the police were to enter your home without a warrant, solely based on a hunch or lacking probable cause, any items seized in the process would be unlawfully obtained. Consequently, it becomes essential for a Court to suppress the evidence of the devices against you. It is crucial to note that even if a warrant is obtained, it can still be contested if it lacks specificity regarding the areas to be searched or the items to be seized. Your Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney possesses the necessary expertise to effectively challenge such faulty warrants in Court.

Call Today

Facing the weighty implications of a PC 18710 conviction is an overwhelming endeavor. The ripple effects of such a charge, especially when prosecuted predominantly as a felony offense, extend beyond the immediate threat of State Prison confinement. With severe penalties like lifelong felony records and the looming shadow of potential deportation for those without the requisite documentation, the stakes are undoubtedly high.

It’s within this challenging landscape that the expertise of a dedicated attorney becomes indispensable. At Inland Empire Defense, our legacy lies in the countless individuals we’ve successfully defended against firearm crimes, specifically under PC 18710. Our Ontario PC 18710 attorney’s unparalleled experience and commitment to justice ensure that you’re not just another case number, but a valued client deserving of a robust defense.

In these trying times, you deserve an advocate who understands the depth of your predicament and works tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome. For a legal partner who stands beside you, navigating every nuance of the law and ensuring your rights are upheld, reach out to us at 909-281-0565.

Centrally situated in Ontario, the Inland Empire Defense team is steadfast in its commitment to excellence, offering you professional assistance you can trust in your hour of need.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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