Brandishing Definition

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Almost all jurisdictions and states have laws about the improper exhibition of firearms and other dangerous weapons. This means that the brandishing legal definitions will mostly depend on your jurisdiction and state.

What is Brandishing?

Otherwise referred to as unlawful display, defensive display and improper exhibition, brandishing refers to the exhibition, waving, showing or display of firearms in such a manner that other people will find threatening.

The Legal Definition of Brandishing

Drawing or brandishing a firearm or other deadly weapon is a serious offense. Under Penal Code (Section 417) this offense is said to have occurred when the prosecution proves the following elements of the crime:

- You drew, exhibited or took out
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The prosecution won’t have to prove that you pointed the deadly weapon at another person or that you actively tried to use it to cause them harm.

4. In a Threatening, Angry or Rude Manner

This element will be satisfied if you just display, point, wave around or brandish the deadly weapon in an offensive, threatening, angry or rude manner. Even though you only intended to frighten the other person, such intention might not be considered in the brandishing case. In fact, brandishing laws were designed to discourage people from threatening others using weapons because of the tragic events that might potentially occur if the weapons are used.

Legal Defenses for Brandishing

As with other criminal offenses, the defense your attorney will take will depend on the particular circumstances of the case. Common defenses include, but are not limited to:

a) Self-Defense

Here, the defendant must prove that the elements of self-defense existed before they can be exonerated of brandishing. These elements include:

- Reasonable belief that you (or another party) were in imminent danger of
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