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Explosives and federal law

The federal government has placed strict constraints on weapons, including explosive. Those who run afoul of the law as it relates to these matters can wind up facing serious penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, fines and a federal criminal record that may haunt them for the rest of their lives. This is why, when accused of a federal crime, an individual should do everything in their power to fight for their legal rights. One of the first ways to do that is to become familiar with the law they are accused of violating.

There are many federal laws that pertain to explosives. First, it is illegal for an individual to import, deal or manufacture explosive materials unless they have a license to do so. Second, it is a crime for an unlicensed individual to transport or ship explosive materials, receive explosive materials, or distribute them to another unlicensed individual. Third, an individual could face federal charges for knowingly distributing explosive materials to certain individuals, including those under the age of 21, those who have been convicted of a crime and sentenced to a year or more in prison, and those who are fugitives from the law.

In order for federal prosecutors to obtain a conviction, they often must show intent or knowledge. This means that the burden is on the government to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant knew or intended to distribute, manufacture or import explosive materials in an illegal fashion.

This is a high burden and should certainly come into play when crafting a criminal defense. However, this is just scratching the surface of a federal weapons charge. In fact, the laws are much more complicated than they seem. Yet, those who are accused of these offenses can speak to a criminal defense attorney to better understand the charges levied against them and how best to fight them.

Source: Legal Information Institute, "18 U.S. Code § 842 - Unlawful acts," accessed on Nov. 13, 2015

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