California Penal Code 417 PC

PC 417 – Brandishing a Weapon

Brandishing a Weapon – Table of Contents

PC 417-Brandishing a Weapon

What is “Brandishing a Weapon”?

You can be convicted of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon or firearm, under CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon, if you draw or exhibit a weapon in a rude, threatening, or angry manner.

In order to be convicted of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon the prosecutor must prove the three elements of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon:

 

  1. That you drew or exhibited a deadly weapon in the presence of another
  2. That you did so either in a rude, threatening or angry manner, or during a fight
  3. That you did not do so while acting in self-defense or in the defense of another

Penalties for CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon

Basic Overview of Penalties

CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon can be tried as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the details of the crime and your criminal record. If the prosecutor can prove each of the elements of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon beyond a reasonable doubt then you will face:

  • If you are convicted of brandishing a deadly weapon (other than a firearm) then you will face a minimum of 30 days in county jail.
  • If you are convicted of brandishing a firearm then you will face up to 6 months in county jail.
  • If you are convicted of brandishing a concealable firearm (revolver, pistol, etc.) then you will face:
    • Up to 1-year in prison
    • Up to $1,000 in fines
    • If you are convicted of brandishing a firearm in the presence of a police officer then you will face:
      • Up to 1-year in county (as a misdemeanor)
      • Up to 3-years in prison (as a felony)

Detailed Penalties (with codes)

  • PC 417(a)(1) – Brandishing a Deadly Weapon in a Fight or Cleaning Graffiti:
     
    Misdemeanor up to 180 days in jail;
  • PC 417(a)(2)(A) – Brandishing a Concealed Firearm in Public Place:
     
    Misdemeanor up to a 1 year in jail;
  • PC 417(a)(2)(B) – Brandishing a Firearm:
     
    Misdemeanor up to 180 days in jail;
  • PC 417(b) – Brandishing a Loaded Firearm in a Daycare:
     
    Felony up to 3 years in prison;
  • PC 417(c) – Brandishing a Firearm at the Police:
     
    (Wobbler) Misdemeanor up to 1 year in county jail or Felony up to 3 years in prison;
  • PC 417.3 – Brandishing a Firearm at a Person in a Motor Vehicle:
     
    Felony up to 3 years in state prison;
  • PC 417.4 – Brandishing an Imitation Firearm in a Threatening Manner:
     
    Misdemeanor up to 180 days in jail;
  • PC 417.6 – Brandishing a Deadly Weapon causing Serious Bodily Injury:
     
    (Wobbler) Misdemeanor up to 1 year in county jail or Felony up to 3 years in state prison;
  • PC 417.8 – Brandishing a Deadly Weapon while Resisting Arrest:
     
    Felony up to 4 years in prison;

It’s important to note that if you are convicted of any of the above-mentioned criminal offenses then you could lose your right to carry a firearm in California.

Prosecuting for CA PC 417

Key Elements

It’s essential to have a full understanding of the language of the penal code in order to understand how the prosecutor successfully convicts. As previously mentioned. In order to be convicted of the crime the prosecutor must prove the following elements of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That you drew or exhibited a deadly weapon in the presence of another
  2. That you did so either in a rude, threatening or angry manner, or during a fight
  3. That you did not do so while acting in self-defense or in the defense of another

Were You Exhibiting a Weapon?

The first element of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon states that the prosecutor must prove that you drew or exhibited a deadly weapon in the presence of another. So What is a “Deadly Weapon”?

A deadly weapon is defined as, “any object, instrument, or weapon that is inherently deadly or dangerous or one that is used in such a way that it is capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury”.

In the presence of another simply means that there was somebody else present when you exhibited the weapon. Oddly enough there is not requirement that you pointed the gun at someone or that the person even knew about the presence of the gun; the only requirement is that there was another person in the immediate vicinity when you drew the weapon.

Was it Exhibited in a Threatening Manner?

The second element of the crime is that you exhibited the weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner. This element of the crime is relatively self-explanatory but still requires a brief explanation. This law was created to prevent people from threatening others with weapons, even if there was never an intent to cause bodily harm to another. All the prosecutor has to do in order to prove this element of the crime is show that you exhibited the manner with some intensity.

Was it Self Defense?

The third element of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon states that you did not draw the gun in an act of self-defense or in the defense of another.  Here the prosecutor is required to show that you were not in immediate danger of sustaining a great bodily injury and you drew the gun on your own accord.

Defending for CA Penal Code 417 PC Brandishing a Weapon

Criminal Intent

There are several common legal defenses that a criminal defense lawyer will investigate to prove your innocence to the court. 

Self Defense

The first legal defense is to question the third element of the crime, in other words, that you were acting in self-defense. If you were acting in self-defense then you cannot be convicted of CA Penal Code 417 PC brandishing a weapon because California protects its citizens from being punished for protecting themselves. However, it’s important to note that you are only protected under California self-defense laws when you:

  • Reasonably believe that you or another person is in imminent harm, and
  • You don’t use excessive force to defend yourself when you fight back

Lack of Threat

If the weapon was not exhibited in a rude, threatening, or angry manner then you cannot be convicted of brandishing a weapon. If you were simply educating someone about the weapon or removing it from a case to clean the firearm in a safe manner then you didn’t fulfill the second element of the crime and therefore cannot be convicted.

These are only the two most common legal defenses for brandishing a weapon, but each case is treated independently from the next and requires its own investigation and legal defense. If you are facing brandishing weapon charges then it’s imperative to talk to a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately.

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Seppi Esfandi is a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney with over 20 years of experience defending clients for a plethora of crimes, including CA Penal Code 417 PC Brandishing a Weapon.

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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
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  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
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  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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