Under California Penal Code 417 (PC-417) it is illegal to draw or exhibiting a deadly weapon in a threatening or rude manner in the presence of another person.
To Be Found Guilty of Penal Code Section 417 Brandishing a Weapon
Prosecutor must establish the following elements of the crime are proved for convicting defendant under Penal Code Section 417
- Defendant took out, exhibited or drew a firearm or other deadly weapon in the presence of another person
- Defendant did so in a rude, angry or threatening manner, or did so unlawfully while engaged in an argument or fight
- Defendant was not acting in self-defense or in defense of another person.
Deadly weapon is any instrument, object or weapon that is inherently deadly or one that is used in such a way that it likely to cause great bodily injury or death. Examples of deadly weapons can include razor blades, knives, pipes and attack dogs.
For the purposes of PC Section 417 PC a firearm is any device designed to be used as a weapon, from which a projectile is expelled or discharged through a barrel by the force of an explosion or other form of combustion. Examples of firearm can include rifles, pistols, shotguns and handguns. The displayed or exhibited firearm does not have to be loaded. Defendant can face charges for brandishing a weapon in case he waves an unloaded gun around in a frenzied or angry or manner.
Presence of another person
According to PC Section 417 PC, the defendant must draw or exhibit the weapon in the presence of another person. The defendant can be charged even if he didn’t point the weapon at another one, didn’t fire the gun or the alleged victim didn’t saw the weapon.
Defenses to California Penal Code Section 417 Charges
Defenses to California Penal Code Section 417 charges include
- Defendant did not exhibit a deadly weapon in the presence of another one
- Defendant was acting in self-defense or in the defense of another person by drawing or exhibiting a deadly weapon
- Defendant was showing the weapon to someone in a non-threatening manner
- Defendant was falsely accused by the alleged victim.
Penalties for violating California Penal Code Section 417
Under PC Section 417 brandishing a deadly weapon other than a firearm is considered misdemeanor punishable by minimum 30 days and up to one year in a county jail.
There are numerous circumstances that can increase the sentence:
PC 417(a)(2)(A): Brandishing an Unloaded Firearm
In case the defendant used an unloaded firearm such as a revolver or a pistol to threaten another person in public, the sentence will increase to:
- Minimum 90 days and up to one year a county jail
- A fine of up to $1,000
PC 417(b): PC 417.3 Brandishing a Loaded Firearm
In case the defendant threatened another person with a loaded firearm he will face a felony with 16 months to 3 years sentence in a county jail.
PC 417.6(a): Brandishing a weapon or firearm causing serious bodily injury
In case the defendant purposely caused injury to another person while committing the crime, he can be additionally charged with:
- A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in a county jail, or
- A felony, punishable by up to 3 years in the state prison.
PC 417(c): Brandishing a firearm in the presence of a peace officer
In case the defendant threatened a peace officer on duty with a firearm he can be charged with:
- A misdemeanor, punishable with a minimum of 9 months in ta county jail, or
- A felony with 16 months to 3 years in in the state prison.
PC 417.8 Brandishing a firearm with intent to resist arrest
In case the defendant attempted to resist arrest or help another person to resist arrest by brandishing a firearm he can face a felony, punishable by 2, 3 or 4 years in the state prison.