blog home Criminal Defense Defenses Against Brandishing a Weapon Charge

Defenses Against Brandishing a Weapon Charge

By Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on September 2, 2021

Some defenses against a charge of brandishing a weapon include:

  • You did not brandish any weapon that was in your possession.
  • You were not in possession of a weapon and therefore could not have brandished one.
  • You brandished a weapon only in self-defense, or in a non-threatening manner.

Another defense may work for you. Our firm will consider your personal circumstances when creating your defense.


How California Defines “Brandishing a Weapon”

California Penal Code § 417 PC (1) outlines the crime of brandishing a weapon. Rather than using the term “brandish,” the statute applies to someone who displays or draws a weapon that could be deadly. It is important to note that there are distinct penalties that apply to those who brandish firearms specifically.

The statute itself alludes to defenses against charges of brandishing a weapon. You may only face a conviction for brandishing a weapon if:

  • You brandished the weapon “in a rude, angry, or threatening manner,” or
  • You unlawfully used a deadly weapon in a “fight or quarrel.”

Your lawyer may defend you by claiming that your use of a deadly weapon was lawful. They may also, or instead, claim that you did not draw the weapon angrily, rudely, or threateningly.


Examples of Unlawful Brandishing a Weapon

The following examples are not necessarily unlawful, but they may be. Someone may be guilty of brandishing a weapon when:

  • They hold a firearm outside of their vehicle or point the gun at someone from inside of their vehicle.
  • They are possessing a deadly weapon while making verbal threats.
  • They use a weapon, such as a knife, in any manner other than self-defense.

Not every instance of revealing a weapon qualifies as a crime, however. If you did show or display a weapon, it could be deemed lawful.


Examples of Lawful Brandishing of a Weapon

Someone may brandish a weapon without breaking the law when:

  • They show their weapon in a private home—such as a newly-purchased, unloaded firearm—to a curious friend.
  • They are being physically assaulted.
  • Their “weapon” is something like a stick or stone, which may not be considered a “deadly weapon.”

Our firm can tell you more about the distinctions between lawful and unlawful brandishing of a weapon. We can determine which category your case falls into.


Potential Penalties for Brandishing a Weapon

California Penal Code § 417 PC generally categorizes brandishing a weapon as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Depending on your circumstances, a conviction of this crime may lead to:

  • Up to 30 days in county jail
  • Up to 90 days in county jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000

Certain circumstances can escalate criminal penalties. If you brandish a firearm in the presence of a peace officer, for example, you may face up to one year in county jail or up to three years in state prison. Other charges or penalties may apply to your case.


Additional Consequences of a Conviction

In addition to legal penalties, a conviction of brandishing a weapon may:

  • Cause you to lose your job and immediate source of income
  • Prevent you from obtaining certain jobs in the future
  • Cause issues with child custody, housing, relationships, and other aspects of your life
  • Cause significant financial harm

There is no upside to a criminal conviction. You should take steps to avoid this outcome at all costs.

Can a Lawyer Defend You from a Brandishing a Weapon Charge?

Yes, our firm may defend you against pending criminal charges. We will deploy all of our resources in your defense. While we have a track record of defending people in high-stakes criminal cases, we take every client’s case extremely seriously.

Our team can:

  • Obtain all relevant facts about your case
  • Gather and review all case-related evidence
  • Form and execute your defense strategy
  • Seek dismissal of your charges
  • Defend you in a trial setting
  • Protect your rights throughout your whole case

We can also handle the appeals and expungement processes for you.


Call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today to Discuss Your Case

Take the time to review our case results. We also provide client testimonials so that you know what to expect from us. Our team can provide the legal defense that you need in this challenging time.

Call Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP today at (213) 688-0460 for your FREE consultation. Do not wait to call. The sooner you call, the more time we have to craft your defense.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense