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Brandishing Laws (PC 417) in California

California Penal Code 417: Brandishing

Legal Definition: Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon whatsoever, other than a firearm, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a deadly weapon other than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor.

In order to secure a conviction for a violation of PC 417(a)(1)/PC 417(a)(2)(B), it is imperative for the prosecution to establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant knowingly and intentionally drew or exhibited a firearm or deadly weapon in the presence of another individual
  • The defendant did so in a manner that was rude, angry, or threatening
  • The defendant’s actions were not justified as an act of self-defense or defense of someone else

As an experienced and authoritative source, we assure you that these factors are crucial in determining guilt in such cases.

What does this mean?

A firearm is defined as a device specifically designed to discharge a projectile through a barrel by means of an explosion or other form of combustion and can be considered a deadly weapon regardless of whether or not it is loaded. A deadly weapon, on the other hand, encompasses objects or instruments that are inherently capable of causing death or great bodily injury, or those used in a manner likely to cause such harm. Great bodily injury refers to significant or substantial physical harm exceeding minor or moderate injury levels.

In terms of legal context, a public place denotes a location accessible to the general public. Notably, the most commonly encountered criminal charge related to brandishing is PC 417(a)(2)(A), which pertains to the act of brandishing a concealed firearm in a public place.


Brandishing is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the specific section you are charged with, as well as your criminal history.

  1. PC 417(a)(1) brandishing a deadly weapon in a fight is a misdemeanor offense, where you could be sentenced to upwards of 180 days in a County Jail. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence.
  2. PC 417(a)(2)(A) brandishing a concealed firearm in a public place [Misdemeanor up to a 1 year in jail];
  3. PC 417(a)(2)(B) brandishing firearm [Misdemeanor up to 180 days in jail];
  4. PC 417(b) brandishing a loaded firearm in a daycare [Felony up to 3 years in prison];
  5. PC 417(c) brandishing a firearm at police [Misdemeanor up to 1 year in county jail or Felony up to 3 years in prison];
  6. PC 417.3 brandishing a firearm at a person in a motor vehicle [Felony up to 3 years in state prison];
  7. PC 417.4 brandishing imitation firearm in a threatening manner [Misdemeanor up to 180 days in jail];
  8. PC 417.6 brandishing deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury [Misdemeanor up to 1 year in county jail or Felony up to 3 years in state prison];
  9. PC 417.8 brandishing a weapon at an officer while resisting arrest [Felony up to 4 years in prison].

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Violation of your Rights
  4. Mistake of Fact

These charges entail highly specific factual details. Occasionally, individuals may tend to be overly dramatic, misunderstand, or misinterpret your words. Consequently, to rectify any misunderstandings, you may attempt to reach out to them again in order to clarify the situation. However, these efforts can inadvertently exacerbate the issue, leading to a series of worsening phone calls. As experienced experts in the field, we assure you that our expertise and authoritative approach will help resolve these matters effectively and instill trust in our communication.

Call Today

Facing a brandishing charge under PC 417 can be a pivotal moment, fraught with the risk of severe penalties, including the potential loss of firearm ownership rights and the grim prospect of a strike conviction. Such charges not only threaten your immediate freedom but also cast a long shadow over your future, particularly concerning your Second Amendment rights.

Why Choose Inland Empire Criminal Defense?

  • Specialized Expertise: Our Ontario-based PC 417 criminal defense attorney is renowned for a depth of experience in firearm-related charges. This specialized focus has culminated in a formidable track record, underscored by a series of successful defenses against brandishing and similar allegations.
  • Strategic Defense: Recognizing the gravity of brandishing charges, we delve deep into each case, employing meticulous analysis to unearth every potential avenue for defense. Our strategy is tailor-made, reflecting the unique circumstances of your case to mount the strongest possible defense.
  • Comprehensive Support: Beyond robust legal representation, we offer unwavering support and accessibility. From your initial free consultation, you’ll find our team ready to address your concerns and queries, ensuring you’re fully informed and supported throughout the legal process.

Your Defense Begins Here

The repercussions of a brandishing charge necessitate an assertive and knowledgeable defense. Inland Empire Criminal Defense is dedicated to providing that defense, leveraging extensive legal expertise and a staunch commitment to our clients’ rights.

Reach Out for Expert Legal Guidance

In these challenging times, entrust your case to a legal team that combines expertise with a deep commitment to client welfare. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a comprehensive defense strategy that prioritizes your rights and future. Our convenient location in Ontario, CA, facilitates easy access for clients across the Inland Empire, ensuring you have top-tier legal representation when you need it most.

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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