Some laws make it illegal to possess a "constructive device." Destructive devices can include:
- Explosive projectiles or missiles
- Certain types of rockets/rocket-propelled devices
- Projectiles that contain flammable or explosive materials
- Certain types of illegal weapons (such as certain firearms)
Due to safety concerns regarding such devices, most state laws prohibit the general public from owning them. Laws may vary from state to state, but in most cases a person can face criminal charge if they’re found to be in possession of a destructive device.
What Are the Penalties for Destructive Device Crimes?
Possession of a destructive device is usually charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor charges can lead to criminal consequences such as fines (up to about $1,000) and jail time of up to one year. Felony charges can result in more serious penalties, including greater fines and sentences of longer than one year.
Whether or not the person is charged with a felony or a misdemeanor may depend on several factors, including: the nature of the device possessed; the person’s criminal record; and surrounding circumstances of the crime (such as where the device was being stored, etc.). More severe penalties may be imposed if the person sets of the device in a public place; even greater penalties will result if someone is injured.
Are There Any Defenses to Destructive Device Crimes?
As with any criminal charge, there may be defenses available to a person who has been charged with possession of a destructive device. These can include:
- The defendant had a valid permit for possession of the device
- The item actually didn’t qualify as a "destructive device" under state law
- Evidence regarding the crime was obtained in an illegal manner (for instance, violations of search warrant requirements)
Again, state laws may vary when it comes to the definition of a destructive device, as well as requirements for obtaining a permit. You may need to consult with a lawyer or legal professional if you need additional advice regarding the laws in your state.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Destructive Device Violations?
Destructive devices can be dangerous and are subject to very strict regulation. You may need to hire a criminal lawyer in your area if you’re facing charges that involve destructive devices. Your attorney can provide you with legal representation during trial, and can help perform legal research towards your defense case. Also, if you have any specific questions or inquiries, your lawyer can address these as well.