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What Are the Charges for Brandishing a Weapon in California?

In California, it is a state crime to wield a deadly weapon or firearm in a rude or threatening manner in the presence of others. A deadly weapon can be one that is inherently dangerous, such as a knife or a sword, or an everyday object that can be used to cause death, such as a pillowcase used to suffocate someone. The individual can be charged even if they did not point the weapon at the other person or they did not discharge the firearm. However, if they were acting in self-defense when they brandished their weapon, they would not violate this law.

For the prosecutor to convict the defendant of brandishing a weapon or firearm, they must prove specific elements of the crime:

  • The person had a deadly weapon or firearm in their possession
  • The person drew their weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner in the presence of someone else
  • The person used a deadly weapon (and not a firearm) in a fight or quarrel with someone else
  • The person did not act in self-defense

Potential Charges and Penalties

Depending on the specific circumstances, the offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony:

  • If the person is in a public place and brandishes a deadly weapon, they could be charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by 3 months in county jail.
  • If the person is in a public place and brandishes a firearm that is capable of being concealed, they could be charged with a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of 3 months to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. They could also face these punishments if they wield a weapon or firearm in front of a person who is cleaning up graffiti.
  • If the person wields a loaded firearm during business hours at a daycare or facility hosting a program for children under 18 years of age, they could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by 3 months to 1 year in jail, or a felony punishable by 16 months or 2 or 3 years in prison.
  • If the person draws their weapon in the presence of a peace officer while they are performing their duties, they could be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by 9 months to 1 year in prison, or a felony punishable by 16 months or 2 or 3 years in prison.

Call Corrigan Welbourn Stokke, APLC to Schedule Your Free Case Review

If you’re facing criminal allegations for brandishing a weapon, retain the legal help of our attorneys. We have over 100 years of combined experience, and we know what defenses can be brought to fight charges. Armed with extensive knowledge and skill, we have successfully gotten charges reduced or dismissed for past clients. Our team will be in your corner every step of the way to work toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.

For the aggressive defense you need, call us at (949) 251-0330 or contact us online.