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Los angeles Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm lawyers

March 25, 2018 Uncategorized

Brandishing a weapon in the State of California is considered a serious offense. Brandishing a weapon under the California Penal Code 417 PC is defined as displaying a weapon or firearm in the presence of another person in a rude, angry or otherwise threatening way or did so during a fight or argument and you were not acting in self-defense or the self-defense of another person at the time.

A deadly weapon in California is defined as any object or instrument that can be used in a way that is capable or likely of inflicting great bodily injury or death upon another person. The weapon displayed can be a gun, knife, heavy object or any other object including writing pens or rocks.

Many people feel afraid or threatened by the mere presence of a gun or knife and some people feel threatened by any object they perceive as a threat to them even though another reasonable person may not find the same object threatening. The act of brandishing must be proven in order to be convicted of brandishing a weapon.

How Can I Be Charged With Brandishing?

In order for the court to find a person guilty of brandishing, the prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You drew or exhibited a firearm or other deadly weapon in the presence of another person
  • You did it in a rude, angry or other threatening manner or you used it during an argument or a fight with another person
  • You were not acting in self-defense or the self-defense of another person.

Some people think the mere presence of a firearm or other weapon is brandishing. California law provides that a person may use a weapon in the act of self-defense. If a person is walking along the street and is accosted by one or more others in order that they might steal his possessions or inflict injury upon him, and the person draws a gun causing the person or persons to run away, that is not considered brandishing but an act of self-defense.
Examples of actual brandishing include such acts as:

  • Grabbing a knife or a heavy skillet while arguing with a spouse and holding it while looking at them in an angry or threatening way
  • You have an argument with your neighbor. Afterward, you show them the gun you own as a means to frighten them
  • You break a glass bottle and hold it in front of someone as if it were an object which is being utilized to stab the person
  • You lift your shirt or jacket in front of someone exposing a firearm in the waistband of your pants

What Are The Penalties For Brandishing?

The penalties and punishments for brandishing a firearm depend on the unique facts of each individual case, the criminal history of the person charged, and whether there was an injury to a person or persons. Brandishing a weapon at a police officer can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on how the prosecution decides to charge the defendant.

  • A conviction for brandishing a firearm at a police officer carries a minimum sentence of up to 1 year in the county jail or a maximum of 3-years in a state prison for felony brandishing
  • Brandishing a weapon other than a firearm is a misdemeanor which carries a minimum sentence of 30 days to 1 year in county jail
  • Brandishing a firearm (pistol or revolver) is a misdemeanor which carries a minimum sentence of 3 months in the county jail or 1 year in county jail and a fine not to exceed $1,000
  • Brandishing a loaded firearm in public is a misdemeanor which carries a sentence of 1 year in county jail and no less than 3 months

Do I Have A Defense Against Brandishing?

A defense lawyer can defend you against the charges of brandishing a weapon in many instances including when:

  • You neither drew nor exhibited a firearm or weapon in the immediate presence of a person, and it is proven that the person was a significant distance away
  • You did not use a weapon in a rude, angry or threatening manner
  • You drew or exhibited a weapon strictly in self-defense or the self-defense of another person
  • Your accuser has fabricated the charge against you for revenge or other reasons
  • The object you are alleged to have displayed was not considered a deadly weapon
  • You have been misidentified
  • Your Miranda Rights were violated

If you have been accused and charged with brandishing a weapon in Los Angeles, you need to contact an experienced defense lawyer who understands the law and how to successfully defend their clients against these charges.

Brandishing a Deadly Weapon or Firearm

When someone brandishes a firearm or a deadly weapon, they could be violating California Penal Code 417 PC, which prohibits the offense. If a person shows a weapon in a manner that is threatening, rude or aggressive, that person could potentially be charged under that penal code. Even if you or a loved one was charged with this offense, there are certain defenses we can present on the accused’s behalf, and the prosecutor has to prove a few elements to secure a conviction.

Presence of Another

When charged with brandishing a weapon, the prosecutor must prove the facts of the alleged crime. First, it has to be proved that the weapon was drawn in the presence of another person. This might be the easiest part of the crime to prove since it only requires one other person in the accused’s presence. The other person didn’t even have to see the weapon. It’s not required to prove that it was pointed at an alleged victim either.

Rude or Threatening Manner

The accused can be convicted if this second part of the penal code is violated. A rude, threatening or angry manner doesn’t mean that the accused intended to harm the victim. If the weapon is brandished angrily, that’s enough to satisfy this second part of the penal code.

A Deadly Weapon and Firearms

The weapon must be considered deadly to be brandished in public and cause a person to be accused of a crime. Any object that is dangerous, or could be dangerous, when used to cause death or serious injury is considered a deadly weapon. These objects do not include body parts, but could include innocent objects that are used in a deadly manner. A pillow could be used as a deadly weapon to suffocate a person.

A firearm, generally referred to as a gun, would include pistols, rifles, shotguns and revolvers. This is pretty common knowledge, but pellet guns and BB guns are not included in this definition according to the penal code.


The code specifically says that you can be charged with the crime if you were not acting in self-defense, which means that it’s a natural defense included in the wording of the penal code itself. This includes if you were defending another person against a threat. The accused has to have believed that there was immediate danger or harm.

Displaying the Weapon
Brandishing a weapon does not include drawing the weapon to show someone else without the anger or threatening part of the code. If the accused was showing the weapon to a friend, it’s not considered a crime.

False Allegations
The nature of brandishing means that there’s some interpretation from the witnesses involved. The accused might not have caused any harm with the weapon. Showing the weapon is enough to scare others without there being any anger or threats involved. A person could make a false allegation against an innocent person out of revenge or jealousy too.


The penalties for brandishing a deadly weapon or firearm depend on the prosecutor, the details of the case as well as the accused’s criminal history. The accused could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on a few factors.

Misdemeanor Sentence

If convicted of a misdemeanor for brandishing a deadly weapon, the sentence is a minimum of 30 days in the county jail. Being convicted of brandishing a firearm can give the accused a 3 to 6 month sentence in the county jail.

Felony Charges

Brandishing a weapon at an open day-care center or drawing a weapon on a police office can lead to the same punishment. A misdemeanor charge with a sentence of 3 months to one year in jail, or it could lead to a felony, which would mean 16 months to 3 years in a state prison.

Our law firm has years of experience with these types of charges, and we know how to defend against them. Proving that the accused wasn’t anger or threatening is the hardest part of these cases, and we can provide a solid defense on your behalf.



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