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What are the penalties for brandishing a weapon in California

California has very strict laws regarding the use of weapons. While a resident is allowed to defend him or herself, the circumstances surrounding why a person may have been found brandishing a weapon will be carefully scrutinized by authorities. There are those who will be charged with such offenses, and these individuals may wonder what the punishments are if convictions are ultimately obtained by prosecuting attorneys.

When it comes to state laws regarding brandishing a weapon, there is a distinct difference in penalties between firearm use and that of all other weapons. A person is likely to face misdemeanor charges if he or she draws a weapon on or in the presence of another individual. If convicted, the penalty is typically a 30 day or more jail sentence.

If accused of brandishing a firearm, the penalties significantly increase. The most basic sentence a person may garner for a firearms charge, whether the gun was loaded or not, involves a jail term anywhere from three months to a year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. If the gun was loaded and used illegally near a public place where children may be located or in the presence of police the terms of imprisonment can jump to anywhere from nine months to three years, depending on the facts of the case.

California residents who have been accused of brandishing a weapon have every right to defend their positions in criminal court. An experienced defense attorney will be able to access all, if any, evidence offered against the accused and any other information that may be valuable to the case. A careful review of the information gathered will give a complete story to the alleged events and allow the client and his or her representation to discuss and decide the best possible way to proceed.

Source:, "Law section: Penal Code 417", Accessed on July 16, 2015

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results