In Los Angeles, there is nothing illegal about simply taking out or showing off a gun or other weapon. However, if someone believes you did it in a rude or threatening manner, you could be arrested for brandishing a weapon. Brandishing is not the most serious of California’s weapon charges, but the consequences remain severe—including jail time and the possibility of a felony conviction. You need to talk to a Los Angeles brandishing a weapon lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group knows how to win weapon charge cases. At our firm, we always take your side and we will keep fighting until we get you the absolute best result possible in your case. We have the experience, knowledge and tenacity to take on tough prosecutors and win—and a track record to prove it. Let us give you a free consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What is brandishing a deadly weapon?
Brandishing a deadly weapon is defined under a California law known as PC 417. It means that you:
Drew, took out, or displayed a deadly weapon (which includes firearms),
While someone else was present, and:
You either did it in a rude, angry or threatening way, or
Did it during a fight or argument (without a lawful reason for doing so)
…and you were not defending yourself or someone else.
This definition may seem complicated, but that’s a good thing. The law very carefully rules out all kinds of situations where displaying a weapon would not be illegal. For example, if you were defending yourself, or you were not acting in an angry or threatening manner, then you should not be convicted of brandishing a weapon—period. A good lawyer can build a strong defense based on the facts of your case, and potentially get the charge dropped.
What counts as a “deadly weapon” in Los Angeles?
Guns or firearms always count as deadly weapons, including hunting rifles, revolvers and other non-assault weapons. You should know that the firearm does not have to be loaded to count as brandishing a deadly weapon.
Many other objects count as well. These include:
Pens, scissors or sharp pencils
A rock or beer bottle
Baseball bats and other clubs
Broken glass shards
“Molotov cocktail” or other incendiary devices
An attack dog
Chain saws and other power tools
Basically, any tool or object that can cause “great bodily injury” is a deadly weapon. Great bodily injury can include a black eye, broken bones, serious burns, serious contusions and swelling, and many other kinds of injuries. If an object has the capacity to leave someone with an injury that won’t heal quickly, it’s probably a “deadly weapon.”
(Fists or the human body do not count as a deadly weapon and you cannot be convicted of brandishing your body under this law.)
Notice that many of these items are normal, everyday objects—not weapons. There is nothing illegal about having or showing off these objects unless it becomes threatening. This also creates substantial room to defend you from a brandishing charge.
What are the penalties for brandishing a deadly weapon?
It depends on how the crime is charged. Brandishing a deadly weapon can be a misdemeanor or a felony, and it has different penalties based on the circumstances of the case. For example:
Misdemeanor. Brandishing is often charged as a misdemeanor and the penalties depend on the situation:
Most weapons: If you brandished a deadly weapon that is not a firearm, you will face at least 30 days in county jail.
Firearms: If the weapon was most types of firearms, you will instead face 3-6 months in jail.
Concealable firearms: If it was the kind of smaller firearm you could conceal on your person, you instead face 3 months to 1 year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
Graffiti: Under an obscure California law, you will also face 3 months to 1 year in jail if the person you threatened was in the act of cleaning up graffiti or vandalism—no matter what kind of weapon you used.
Aggravated misdemeanor. Some special circumstances can make the misdemeanor charge more serious. These include:
Daycare: If you brandished a weapon on the premises of a child daycare center, while the center was open, you will face 3 months to 1 year in jail no matter the type of weapon involved. This can also become a felony (see below).
Schools: In California, all firearm offenses committed on school grounds carry additional punishment under the Gun-Free School Zone Act.
Peace officer: If you brandished the weapon in the presence of a police officer or other officer of the peace, while they were performing their duties, you will face 9 months to 1 year in jail. This can also become a felony (see below).
Felony. In certain circumstances it is up to the prosecutor whether to charge you with a misdemeanor or felony. These include the daycare and peace officer version of the law. The prosecutor will decide this based on your previous criminal history and the specific circumstances of your case. If convicted, you face:
Either 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in state prison, and
Convicted felon status, which includes a lifelong ban on owning firearms.
Additionally, any of the convictions above could result in the confiscation of the firearm you used (if any).
Talk to a Los Angeles Brandishing a Weapon Lawyer for Free
Most brandishing cases did not start with criminal intent. You may have ben responding to a threat, or you may not have intended to brandish the weapon at all. Don’t let one bad moment ruin your life. The Simmrin Law Group will give you a FREE consultation—and give you the defense you deserve. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.