A 21 year old Mission Viejo man recently plead guilty to brandishing a weapon after threatening customers at a local sports bar. It was reported that this young man entered the bar carrying a 12 pack of beer and after being asked to leave by management, took out a 6 inch knife and verbally threatened customers. As an Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney, practicing in Orange County for 20 years, I have made it my priority to look beyond the actual “criminal act”, and get to know my clients in order to present them to the Court in the most positive light.
The legal definition of “brandishing a weapon” has three parts to it: 1) that you drew or exhibited a deadly weapon in the presence of another person; 2) you did so in a rude, threatening manner or that you did so unlawfully in a fight or quarrel; 3) and that you were not acting in self-defense or in the defense of another person. The prosecution must prove these three elements for a conviction.
Fortunately, there are defenses to brandishing a weapon or firearm. They include: 1) Self-defense or defense of another; 2) the weapon was not displayed in a rude, angry threatening manner. This defense is important because, simply drawing or exhibiting a weapon is not enough to convict, it must be done in a rude, angry, threatening manner; and 3) False allegations.
Depending upon the circumstances of the situation and the criminal history, brandishing a weapon is a “wobbler”, meaning it can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by a minimum three month to a maximum one-year jail sentence; A felony, punishable by 16 months, or two or three years in the California State Prison.
If you have been arrested and/or charged with brandishing a weapon or firearm, in Orange County, you should seek the advise of an attorney who is familiar with all the Courts in Orange County. An attorney who has a good working relationship with the individual Judges, District Attorneys, Court Clerks and Probation Department, as well as the Court staff, will be better able to get your charges reduced and/or dismissed. An attorney familiar with the Courts in which a case is pending will result in the best possible outcome available.