California uses strict regulations to govern the usage and ownership of firearms and other weapons. Even publicly brandishing a firearm or a weapon is considered a criminal offense in the state of California, prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 417: Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm.
The Simmrin Law Group can help you go over the specifics of a PC 417 charge. You can focus on:
- The Exact Definitions of Weapons and Firearms
- The Act of Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm
- Penalties for a PC 417 Conviction
- Legal Defenses for PC 417 Accusations
Start broadening your understanding of PC 417 charges right here.
Weapons and Firearms: California’s Legal Definition
Before we dig into the charges for brandishing a weapon or a firearm it can be useful to focus on California’s definitions for weapons and firearms. Individuals can face charges for brandishing any kind of “deadly weapon.” Deadly weapons are weapons or objects that are:
- Inherently Dangerous or Deadly in Some Way
- Capable of Being Used in a Way That Can Lead to Great Bodily Injury or Death
This definition is incredibly broad and could include items like knives, swords, baseball bats, and even rocks. The definition of firearms is also very broad in California. Any device that uses an explosion or combustion to expel a projectile can be considered a firearm. This includes:
Individuals can be charged for brandishing either a loaded or unloaded firearm.
Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm: The Legal Definition
PC 417 can be used to prosecute individuals who brandish any of the above weapons or firearms. Brandishing a weapon involves:
- Drawing or Exhibiting a Deadly Weapon or Firearm
- In the Presence of Another Person
- In a Way That is Threatening, Rude, or Angry OR
- Unlawfully Using a Weapon or Firearm in a Quarrel or Fight
Note that this charge does not require an individual to actually fire a gun or utilize a dangerous weapon. Merely drawing and displaying the weapon around another individual can be enough to lead to PC 417 charges in California.
Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm: Legal Penalties
The court system in California can prosecute brandishing a weapon or a firearm as a misdemeanor or a felony, based on the exact circumstances surrounding the charges. Let’s go over both of these charges individually:
Misdemeanor PC 417 Charges
Many charges for brandishing a firearm are prosecuted as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor conviction can lead to:
- Fines of Up to $1,000
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
Felony PC 417 Charges
Individuals may be charged with a felony if they brandish a firearm or a weapon on the property of a day-care center during operational hours. Felony charges can also be used if an individual brandishes a firearm or a weapon around a peace officer. A felony conviction can lead to up to three years of time in prison.
Note that an individual who actually shoots a firearm can face far harsher charges. Even a charge for negligent discharge can lead to steep penalties in California. A weapon-charges lawyer in Los Angeles can go over all the charges used to prosecute gun crimes.
Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm: Legal Defenses
You can focus on building a defense for PC 417 charges by contacting a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles right away. A legal professional can go over all aspects of your case. Depending on your unique situation, your lawyer could work to show:
You Were Acting to Defend Yourself or Others
You are legally permitted to defend yourself and others from great bodily harm or death in the state of California. If you drew a weapon or a firearm as an act of defense, you may be able to avoid a conviction under PC 417.
You Were Not Being Threatening, Angry, or Rude When Displaying the Weapon
Merely drawing a weapon or a firearm should not be enough to result in a PC 417 conviction. For example, if you took out a new knife you bought to show a friend, you should not be subjected to PC 417 charges in the state of California.
Defend Yourself from PC 417 Charges with a Legal Professional
You can get dedicated support dealing with California Penal Code Section 417: Brandishing a Weapon or Firearm charges by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Let our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers start working on your case now with a FREE consultation.
Make sure you’re ready to defend yourself in and out of court by completing our online contact form or calling (310) 896-2723.