California Penal Code 18715 PC makes it a felony to maliciously or recklessly possess an explosive in public, a private home, or anywhere ordinarily passed by people. The sentence is two, four, or six years behind bars. This crime is still a felony even if the device never ignites.
The full text of the statute reads as follows:
18715 PC. (a) Every person who recklessly or maliciously has in possession any destructive device or any explosive in any of the following places is guilty of a felony:
(1) On a public street or highway.
(2) In or near any theater, hall, school, college, church, hotel, or other public building.
(3) In or near any private habitation.
(4) In, on, or near any aircraft, railway passenger train, car, cable road, cable car, or vessel engaged in carrying passengers for hire.
(5) In, on, or near any other public place ordinarily passed by human beings.
(b) An offense under subdivision (a) is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 for a period of two, four, or six years.
California Penal Code 18751 PC is geared towards suspects who not merely possess a destructive device but also are acting maliciously or recklessly. Either they intend to do something sinister with the device – such as ignite it or scare others with it – or they are being extremely irresponsible with the device – such as traveling with it in an unsafe manner.1
18751 PC is also geared towards situations where the explosive would likely hurt others. Specifically, the statute requires that the suspect possess the device in any public place ordinarily passed by human beings. Examples include:
- public streets or highways
- public buildings
- theaters or halls
- schools or universities
- places of worship
- hotels and motels
The statute also prohibits maliciously or recklessly possessing an explosive in or near a private home. It does not matter if the home is a house, apartment, or trailer.2
A felony, violating 18751 PC carries a standard term of incarceration of four years. If there are mitigating circumstances that make the defendant less blameworthy, the judge may impose only two years. But if there are aggravating circumstances that make the defendant more blameworthy, then the judge can impose up to six years.3
- California Penal Code 18715 PC – Possession in Public or Private Place or on Common Carrier Vehicle. See, e.g., People v. Turnage (Supreme Court of California, 2012) 55 Cal. 4th 62. People v. Borynack (Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, 2015) 238 Cal. App. 4th 958.
- 18715 PC.
- 18715 PC.