Orange County Criminal Defense
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California Brandishing Attorney

Overview for Brandishing a Deadly Weapon

Any person who draws or exhibits a deadly weapon in a rude, angry or threatening manner OR who unlawfully uses a deadly weapon in a quarrel or fight is guilty of violating California Penal Code section 417, which is brandishing a deadly weapon.

Non-firearm Brandishing a Deadly Weapon

If the person brandishes a deadly weapon other than a firearm, it’s a violation of Penal Code section 417(a)(1), which is a misdemeanor. A deadly weapon is any object, instrument or weapon that is inherently deadly or dangerous or one that is used in such a way that it can cause death or great bodily injury. Almost anything can be a deadly weapon, but knives and baseball bats are the most common non-firearm deadly weapons. The minimum jail time for brandishing a deadly weapon (that’s not a firearm) is 30 days county jail and the maximum time is 6 months county jail.

Firearm Brandishing a Deadly Weapon

If the person brandishes a firearm, whether it’s loaded or unloaded, then it’s a violation of Penal Code section 417(a)(2). This crime is a misdemeanor, and the minimum jail time for brandishing a firearm is 3 months county jail and the maximum time is 1 year county jail. However, if a person brandishes a firearm in the presence of a police officer, then the crime is a violation of Penal Code section 417(c), a wobbler. If Penal Code section 417(c) is charged as a misdemeanor, then the minimum jail time is 9 months county jail and the maximum jail time is 1 year county jail. If Penal Code section 417(c) is charged as a felony, then the maximum jail time is three years state prison.

If a person brandishes a fake or imitation firearm, such as a BB gun, then it’s a violation of Penal Code section 417.4, which is a misdemeanor with a minimum sentence of 30 days county jail and a maximum punishment of six months.

Elements to Proving Brandishing a Deadly Weapon

In order for the prosecution to prove their case, they must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

1. The defendant drew or exhibited a deadly weapon in the immediate presence of another person;

2. The defendant did so in a rude, angry or threatening manner OR the defendant unlawfully used the weapon in a fight or quarrel;

3. The defendant did not act in self-defense.

Other Consequences

Not only can brandishing a deadly weapon conviction lead to criminal penalties, but it can also have drastic employment, licensing and immigration consequences. Having a brandishing a deadly weapon conviction can prevent a person from finding a job or lead to a person being fired from their current job. Furthermore, many professions that require licensing from a state board, such as doctors, nurses, lawyers, contractors, teachers, real estate agents and stock brokers, all require background checks. A professional who has a brandishing a deadly weapon conviction on their record risks losing their professional license, or never acquiring it in the first place. Perhaps the most severe impact of a brandishing a deadly weapon conviction involves immigration consequences. Non-citizens who are permanent residents or temporary visitors via a visa, can be denied naturalization or even deported, with a brandishing a deadly weapon conviction on their record. This is especially true if a firearm was the deadly weapon. Immigration consequences are incredibly severe when firearms are involved.

The Right Lawyer

Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer will be the most important decision someone can make when facing brandishing a deadly weapon charges. Many people who face the charge of brandishing a deadly weapon are good people who made a mistake or exercised poor judgment. There are also some people who have been wrongfully accused of brandishing a deadly weapon, based on a misunderstanding or false evidence. You need an attorney who will listen to your side of the story carefully, who will evaluate the evidence thoroughly, who will negotiate with the judge and the District Attorney’s office skillfully, and who will fight in trial aggressively. You need the Law Offices of Fred Thiagarajah.

As a former Deputy District Attorney, Fred Thiagarajah, and his team have the negotiating skills and trial experience necessary to get the best results for their clients. For an example of their work, please see their case results and read their client testimonials. With offices in Newport Beach, Long Beach, Murrieta, Rancho Cucamonga and Riverside, Fred Thiagarajah has criminal defense experience in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.

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    At Right Choice Law, all of our lawyers are former Deputy District Attorneys.

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    Principal Attorney Fred Thiagarajah is a member of MENSA, the international high-IQ society.

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    Laws are constantly changing. Our attorneys are up to date on all the latest developments with constant research and regular attendance at seminars.

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