Are you facing criminal charges for brandishing a weapon in Los Angeles? Your future could be in jeopardy, so it is important to speak with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. Contact The Rodriguez Law Group today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you fight the criminal charges you face.
Our team, led by former prosecutor Ambrosio E. Rodriguez, has over two decades of legal experience. We know that a conviction for a weapons charge would be devastating for you and your family. We use an aggressive approach right from the start and fight to make it incredibly difficult for the prosecution to meet their burden. This often allows us to secure a reduction or dismissal of the charges in the cases we handle. It is important to act quickly, so do not hesitate to call us today.
Brandishing a Weapon – PC 417
What does it mean to brandish a weapon? When is it a crime to possess a gun, firearm, or other deadly weapon?
California Penal Code 417 PC makes it a crime to “draw or exhibit any deadly weapon [or firearm]…in a rude, angry, or threatening manner.” You can also face charges for brandishing a weapon if you use the weapon in a fight. The seriousness of the crime will depend on the type of weapon that you display or exhibit.
If you are charged with brandishing a deadly weapon or firearm under Penal Code 417, the prosecution must be able to establish that:
- you drew or exhibited a deadly weapon or firearm;
- In the presence of another person; and
- Did so in a rude, angry, or threatening way.
In some cases, the prosecution must also prove that you did not have a legal justification for your action, such as acting in self-defense.
What is a Deadly Weapon?
A deadly weapon is defined as “any object, instrument, or weapon that is inherently deadly or one that is used in such a way that it is capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury.” Great bodily injury means an injury that is likely to cause death. Examples of deadly weapons can include knives, razor blades, attack dogs, and pipes.
What is a Firearm?
For the purposes of 417 PC, a firearm is defined as “any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is discharged or expelled through a barrel by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion.” This can include (but is not limited to) pistols, handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The firearm you display or exhibit does not have to be loaded. You can face criminal charges for brandishing a weapon if you wave an unloaded gun around in an angry or frenzied manner.
Consequences of Brandishing a Weapon
The crime of brandishing a weapon, as defined in California Penal Code 417 PC, is a wobbler in California. This means that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The specific charges you face will depend on:
- The type of weapon you displayed;
- The classification of the victim(s) of your crime; and
- Your existing criminal record.
Misdemeanor Brandishing a Weapon Charges
Brandishing a weapon will be charged as misdemeanor offense in the following situations.
Brandishing a Deadly Weapon: It is a misdemeanor to display or exhibit a deadly weapon in the presence of another person in a rude, angry, or threatening manner. A conviction for this crime is punishable by up to 30 days in a Los Angeles County jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
Brandishing an Unloaded Firearm: It is a misdemeanor to display or exhibit an unloaded firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening way. A conviction for this crime is punishable by no less than 90 days and up to one year in a Los Angeles County jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
Misdemeanor or Felony Brandishing a Weapon Charges
Brandishing a weapon can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony offense in the following situations.
Brandishing a Loaded Firearm: If you use a loaded firearm in a rude, angry, or threatening manner you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor brandishing a loaded firearm is punishable by no less than 90 days and up to one year in a Los Angeles County jail. Felony brandishing a firearm is punishable by 16 months to three years in a California state prison and $10,000 in fines.
Brandishing a Firearm at a Child Day-Care Center: If you display or exhibit a firearm at a child day-care center you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is punishable by no less than 90 days and up to one year in a Los Angeles County jail. A felony is punishable by 16 months to three years in a California state prison.
Brandishing a Firearm in Front of Police: If you display or exhibit a firearm in the presence of a peace officer you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor is punishable by no less than 90 days and up to one year in a Los Angeles County jail. A felony is punishable by 16 months to three years in a California state prison.
In addition to these criminal consequences, you may also lose the right to own or possess a firearm.
Defending Charges of Brandishing a Weapon in Los Angeles
When you are accused of a crime in Los Angeles you have the right to assert any argument that can explain, justify, or excuse your alleged behavior. When these arguments are successful, the prosecution will have a much harder time meeting their burden of proof. This will help your attorney negotiate reduced charges or convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charges against you altogether. Defenses that may be helpful in your Los Angeles brandishing a weapon case include:
- False accusation;
- Mistaken identity;
- Self-defense, or defense of another person;
- Accidental display of the weapon;
- Your behavior was not rude, angry, or threatening; and/or
- You did not have a firearm or deadly weapon.
Fighting Brandishing a Weapon Charges in Los Angeles
Have you been arrested for brandishing a weapon in Los Angeles? Do not hesitate to contact The Rodriguez Law Group for immediate legal assistance. You have the right to fight the charges against you, and our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help.
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have nearly two decades of legal experience and have successfully handled complex weapons charges in Los Angeles, including those for brandishing a weapon. We know that if you are convicted on a weapons charge your future will be changed forever. In addition to jail time and fines, you will have difficulty securing a job and may not be able to rent or buy a home. You may also face the loss of your gun ownership rights. The decisions you make today will affect your future, so do not hesitate to contact us today. During your free consultation, we will review your case, determine the best defense, and answer the questions you have.