In other jurisdictions, improper exhibition of a firearm is often called brandishing a weapon. Brandish means to wave or display an object usually in a threatening manner. It is an offense under Florida law to display a dangerous weapon in an angry or careless manner.
If you are charged with an improper exhibition of a firearm offense, you need to contact an experienced Melbourne criminal defense attorney right away. It is possible to get an improper exhibition of a firearm charge reduced or dismissed if you take prompt action.
At the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC, we handle a variety of weapons charges. We represent individuals who have been charged with improper exhibition of a firearm in the Brevard County area including Melbourne, Satellite Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Viera, Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne Beach, West Melbourne, Palm Bay and Rockledge.
Contact our office at (321) 253-3447 for a consultation on how we can help you with your Improper Exhibition of a Firearm charge.
The purpose of this statute is to encourage safe handling of firearms. The state does not want people to carelessly handle firearms due to the possibility of causing serious bodily injury to innocent bystanders. There are well-documented cases of guns being accidently discharged when used in a safe manner so the likelihood of accidental discharge increases if the guns are operated in an unsafe manner.
In the Florida Criminal Code §790.10, improper exhibition of a firearm is defined as an individual having or carrying the following weapons in an unsafe manner:
An individual is considered to carry the firearm in an unsafe manner if they carry it in the following ways:
The individual must carry the weapon in an unsafe manner in the presence of one or more persons in order to be convicted of improper exhibition of a firearm.
It is a first-degree misdemeanor offense punishable by a maximum prison term of 1 year and a maximum fine of up to $1000 if you are found guilty of an improper exhibition of a firearm offense.
A misdemeanor is still a serious offense to have on your criminal record. Most people mistakenly plead guilty or no contest to misdemeanors because they believe that a misdemeanor does not have damaging consequences. The fact is that a misdemeanor can stay on your criminal record indefinitely. If you get into trouble with the law again, this misdemeanor can increase the penalties for subsequent criminal charges.
The Improper Exhibition of a Firearm offense has 3 elements:
The prosecution has the burden of proving all three of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense attorney can cast doubt on any one element and the prosecution’s case will fail.
A common defense for improper exhibition of a firearm charge is that the individual brandished the weapon in self-defense. If the individual was displaying the weapon in a threatening manner in order to protect his or her personal safety, then the display was not careless, rude or angry.
Another defense tactic is to attack the definitions in the statute. If the person was handling a toy gun for instance, does that meet the definition of improper exhibition of a firearm under the statute? The prosecution needs to prove to the jury that you acted in an unsafe manner. In addition to acting in an unsafe manner, the prosecution needs to prove that the people who witnessed the behavior thought it was unsafe.
Defenses are very specific to the facts of the case. You need to contact a criminal defense attorney and explain your specific situation in order to get a defense tailor made to your circumstances.
If you are charged with improper exhibition of a firearm in Melbourne or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of Germain & McCarthy, LLC at (321) 253-3447 to receive a consultation about your case. A misdemeanor conviction for improper exhibition of a firearm can have terrible lifelong consequences. Once you outline the facts of your case to our Melbourne gun charge attorneys, we can begin creating a defense to either get these charges reduced or completely dismissed.