Brandishing A Weapon Defense Attorney | Orange County

For 40+ years, the brandishing a weapon criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich focus a part of their practice on fighting for the rights of clients who have been charged with brandishing a weapon in violation of California penal code 417. Over decades of representing criminal defendants in Southern California, we have developed the knowledge and skills to take on tough cases and win. If you have been arrested and charged with brandishing a weapon under PC 417, your smartest course of action is to contact Wallin & Klarich. With offices in Orange County, Torrance, San Bernardino, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, and throughout the greater Los Angeles area, our dedicated team of brandishing a weapon defense attorneys are waiting to help you. Call us toll-free today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free phone consultation and get immediate advice from one of our brandishing a weapon criminal defense lawyers.

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What is “Brandishing a Weapon”? | PC 417

Under California Penal Code 417, it is unlawful for you to draw or exhibit a deadly weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening way in the presence of another person and not in self-defense or in defense of someone. If you unlawfully use a deadly weapon in a fight or quarrel that is also considered brandishing a weapon under the law. The sentencing and punishment for brandishing a deadly weapon in California can be severe, and you will need an experienced attorney to guide you through this critical legal process. 

What Must Be Proven | Misdemeanor Brandishing a Weapon

A violation of PC 417 is generally prosecuted as a misdemeanor. For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 417, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant brandished, drew, or exhibited a deadly weapon or a firearm in the presence of someone else;
  2. The accused did so in a rude, angry, or threatening manner; 
  3. The defendant used the weapon or firearm in a fight or quarrel; and
  4. The defendant was not acting in self-defense.

A deadly weapon under the law can be any object or weapon that is inherently deadly. It is also one that can be used to cause death or great bodily injury. Therefore, in determining if an item is a “deadly weapon” the prosecutor will look at the facts and circumstances of the incident. 

If a person brandishes a weapon and causes serious bodily injury, they can be charged with a more serious offense under PC 417.6. A person who brandished an imitation firearm can be charged under PC 417.4. Also, it is not necessary for a weapon or firearm to be pointed at someone for it to be considered “deadly.” You can still be charged under PC 417 even if the firearm wasn’t loaded.

Brandishing a Weapon Penalties and Sentencing | What You’re Facing

Depending upon the facts of the case and which subsection of the penal code you violated, you could be jail time or hefty fines.

Brandishing a Deadly Weapon Other Than a Firearm | PC 417(a)(1)


  • Imprisonment for no less than 30 days and no longer than 364 days in a county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Both imprisonment and fines

Branding a Firearm | PC 417(a)(2)


  • Imprisonment in a county jail for three months to one year
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Both imprisonment and fines 

Brandishing a Weapon at a Daycare | PC 417(b)

Brandishing a firearm on the grounds of a day-care center while it is open for use, can be a “wobbler” charge under PC 417(b) and can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor:


  • Imprisonment in county jail for no longer than one year
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • Both imprisonment and a fine.


  • Imprisonment in state prison for one, two, or three years
  • A loss of your right to own a firearm.

Brandishing a Firearm at a Police Officer | PC 417(c)


  • Imprisonment in county jail for no longer than one year
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Both imprisonment and a fine.


  • Imprisonment in state prison for one, two, or three years
  • A loss of your right to own a firearm.

Possible Defenses to a Brandishing a Weapon Charge in California

There are a number of valid defenses to brandishing a weapon charge. If you’re charged with this crime. Your best move is to hire an aggressive group of criminal defense attorneys that have handled hundreds of brandishing cases over the last four decades and understand what it takes to get a favorable outcome. Here are some defenses that we have successfully used in the representation of our clients who were facing brandishing weapon charges:

Self Defense

One of the best and most often used defenses to a charge under PC 417 is self-defense. If a person was acting in justifiable self-defense or the defense of another person, he or she is considered innocent under the law.  A person lawfully acts in self-defense when he or she:

  • Reasonably believes that they, or another person, is about to suffer imminent harm; and
  • They fight back with no more force than is reasonably necessary to defend against the danger.

No Threatening Behavior

Recall that a person is only guilty under this law if he or she used a weapon or gun in a “rude, angry, or threatening” manner (as determined by the facts of the case). This means that if you can show you did not act in a “rude, angry or threatening” manner you cannot be found guilty of this crime.  

No Deadly Weapon or Firearm

PC 417 only applies if a defendant was armed with a deadly weapon or a firearm. Therefore, if the weapon under question can be proven to not have been a deadly weapon or firearm that would be one reason a criminal charge for this crime would be likely dismissed.

24/7 Communication With Your Attorney | The Wallin & Klarich Way

Not only do we have 40+ years of experience defending brandishing a weapon charges, but we also bring a 24/7 communication policy to the table. Our objective is to ensure that you are aware of every aspect of your case at all times. We want our clients to be active participants in their own defense and to never have to wonder what is happening in their case. 

History of Success | Wallin & Klarich Track Record of Winning Cases

Our reputation as a successful and aggressive criminal defense firm is well known in Orange County and throughout Southern California. Many of the judges and prosecutors know in the courts where we appear that we are strong advocates for our clients. Our sole focus is to fight for the rights of our clients and present the best defenses that the facts and law allow. For 40+ years we have developed this reputation by taking on and winning tough cases. Click below to hear from some of our previous clients whose livelyhoods we’ve helped protect:

The Bottom Line

Being arrested and charged with brandishing a weapon can be very frustrating because you probably thought you were doing the right thing. We can develop a defense strategy plan that will use our knowledge, skills, and resources to give you the best defense possible. Our help and guidance are only a quick phone call away.

Contact us online or call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free phone consultation. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, West Covina, Torrance, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Diego, and throughout Southern California, we have an office near where you live or work. Many of our initial consultations are done virtually. During your initial consultation, we will ask about the facts of your case. We will discuss every aspect of your case and go over the potential defenses that may be available for you. When it matters most, you can rely on Wallin & Klarich to defend your rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

You will be given a certain amount of leeway if you can establish that you were not the initial aggressor, meaning you did not start the fight or were the first to draw a weapon. However, you can still face criminal charges if you continued to exhibit aggression or use force after the threat is over or neutralized. This ironically turns you into the initial aggressor. This could be true even if you acted to protect yourself or others.

One necessary condition for brandishing a weapon is that you must have been acting in a threatening, angry, or aggressive manner. If you were just showing someone your gun, then you may have a valid defense. This, however, requires a skilled attorney and time to prepare. Call us ASAP and let's see if we can help you: (877)4-NO-JAIL

A "deadly weapon", under California law, is any weapon that is inherently deadly or has the capability of causing or is likely to cause serious bodily injury or death. Although this is slightly vague, it helps to know that this definition has historically been stretched to include baseball bats, broken beer bottles, and items of that nature as well as the typical gun or brass knuckles.

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