TRANSPORTATION OF EXPLOSIVES
Although it may seem like bomb threats are a recent problem, given their prevalence in the news media in recent years, bomb threats are a serious problem that has plagued our society for many, many years. The consequences of a bomb threat can be almost as devastating as the actual bomb itself, as people rush to leave the area, property can be destroyed, other people can be injured or even killed, and the costs to first responders and other law enforcement can be enormous. Moreover, the use of bombs can cause extreme damage to persons and property. As a result, lawmakers have set harsh penalties for the use of explosives as well as for the threatened use of explosives.
What are the laws that the transportation of explosives?
The laws relating to the explosives and bomb threats are governed by NRS 202.750 through 202.790.
NRS 202.750 – “Explosive” defined.
As used in NRS 202.750 to 202.840, inclusive, the term “explosive” means:
- Gunpowders, powders used for blasting, all forms of high explosives, blasting materials, fuses (other than electric circuit breakers), detonators and other detonating agents, smokeless powders, other explosive or incendiary devices and any chemical compounds, mechanical mixtures or device that contains any oxidizing and combustible units, or other ingredients, in such proportions, quantities or packing that ignition by fire, by friction, by concussion, by percussion, or by detonation of the compound mixture or device or any part thereof may cause an explosion; or
- Any explosive material included in the list of explosive materials published in the Federal Register and revised annually by the Attorney General of the United States pursuant to 18 USC 841 et. seq.
It is unlawful for any person:
- Who is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime relating to the practice of shipping or transporting explosives that is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year;
- Who is a fugitive from justice;
- Who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any depressant or stimulating drug or any controlled substance; or
- Who has been judicially declared mentally ill or who has been committed to a hospital as mentally ill,
- to ship or transport any explosive within the State or to receive any explosive which has been shipped or transported within the State.
NRS 202.770 – Seizure and forfeiture of explosives.
Any explosive involved or used or intended to be used in any violation of NRS 202.750 to 202.840, inclusive, or any other law or ordinance shall by subject to seizure or forfeiture of those materials.
NRS 202.780 – Transportation or receipt of explosives for unlawful purpose; penalties.
A person who transports or receives, or attempts to transport or receive within the State, any explosive with the knowledge or intent that to will be used to kill, injure or intimidate a person or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle or real property is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished:
- If no substantial bodily harm results, by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, or by a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $10,000, or by both fine and imprisonment.
- If substantial bodily harm results, by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 20 years, or by a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $20,000, or by both fine and imprisonment.
NRS 202.790 – Authorized transportation or receipt of explosives for lawful purpose not prohibited.
Nothing in NRS 202.760 to 202.790, inclusive, shall be construed to prevent any person from transporting or receiving any explosive pursuant to any authority granted by the Federal Government or this state or for any lawful purpose.
What does it mean by “explosives”?
Essentially any bomb or explosive, or individual components thereof, are prohibited. Some of the types items that are prohibited as explosives include, among other things:
- Gunpowders, or other powders used for blasting;
- All forms of high explosives;
- Blasting materials;
- Fuses (for bombs, not for electrical circuit breakers);
- Incendiary devices; and
- Chemical or mechanical mixtures or devices that contain combustible unites.
I know there are some legal uses of explosives, so why would it be illegal to ship them?
First, it is important to understand that it is only illegal for certain people to ship explosives or the other items listed above. For the average person, it is not illegal to ship the above listed items (unless of course, it is a fully functioning explosive that could detonate during transport).
However, it is illegal to ship or receive explosives or their components if you:
- Are under indictment, or have been convicted, of a crime involving the shipment or transportation of explosives or their components;
- Are currently a fugitive from justice;
- Are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol;
- Have been judicially declared mentally ill, or have been committed to a mental health facility.
Okay, but what if none of those applies to me?
It may still be illegal to ship or receive explosives.
Even if none of the above conditions applies to you, it is still illegal to ship or receive explosives if you know that the explosives are being shipped with the intent to kill, injure, intimidate, or illegally damage or destroy a building, vehicle or other structure.
In other words, the bombs purpose should help guide you in whether you can transport it: if the bomb is going to be used for a legal purpose, it should be okay; if the bomb is going to be used for an illegal purpose, then you cannot ship or transport it.
What are the possible penalties?
Anyone who illegally transports or receives, or attempts to transport or receive an explosive, will be charged with a category B felony and will be facing:
- If there is no substantial bodily harm or death:
- Between 2 and 10 years in a Nevada State Prison; and/or
- Possible fines between $2,000 and $10,000.
- If there is substantially bodily harm or death resulting:
- Between 2 and 20 years in a Nevada State prison; and/or
- Possible fines between $2,000 and $20,000.
Are there any Defenses?
Yes, of course there are. Some of the possible defenses include:
- Legal Purpose – If you have been granted authority by the Federal or Local Government to transport explosives, then the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed.
- Lack of Evidence – As with any crime, the prosecution bears the burden of proving every element of the crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is not enough evidence to uphold this high level of proof, then the charges should be dropped or dismissed.
What should I do if I’ve been charged with shipping or receiving explosives?
As with any crime, it is very important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can discuss the specific circumstances as well as any defenses that may apply to your case.