Improper Exhibition of Firearms
With heightened sensitivity regarding firearms and weapons these days, it would not be surprising if data revealed more improper exhibition of firearms charges were being filed. Oftentimes, these charges are filed due to exaggerated claims, and it is not uncommon for those who are unaccustomed to firearms or other weapons to feel threatened even though the actions of the one sporting the firearm or weapon were not actually threatening. If you face charges for improperly exhibiting a firearm or other weapon, you need a strong weapons defense attorney on your side to protect your interests.
What is the Improper Exhibition of a Firearm?
Florida Statute §790.10 prohibits the display of dirks, swords, sword canes, firearms, electronic weapons, or other weapons in a “rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense” around one or more people. The offense is a first-degree misdemeanor in the state, which means that penalties could include:
- Up to a year in a Florida county jail and
- A fine of up to $1,000, plus
- Additional court costs and fees
The language in this particular statute is vague and there are many possibilities for interpretation; it is not clear what exact actions are considered “rude, careless, angry, or threatening.” In addition, it may not be clear what counts as a weapon. Common weapons deemed dangerous include brass knuckles, tasers, stun guns, and knives; however, ordinary objects have been transformed into dangerous weapons for various reasons.
To be convicted of this offense, the prosecution must uphold the “reasonable person” standard. This means that, if a reasonable person would feel threatened or offended by the alleged display of weapons, it would then be considered an improper exhibition offense.
Additionally, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant had a weapon
- The weapon was exhibited in a “rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner,”
- The act was committed in the presence of one or more people.
Your lawyer’s job is to present evidence that challenges the prosecution, making it difficult for them to prove the above points beyond a reasonable doubt. By working with an experienced weapons lawyer in West Palm Beach, you could obtain the best possible outcome in your case. An attorney who is determined to challenge the charge against you may be able to present evidence that protects your reputation. Ultimately, your attorney’s goal is to have your charge dropped or reduced. If you your lawyer succeeds in having the State drop your charge, you might be able to avoid a conviction for Improper Exhibition of a Firearm, a serious misdemeanor offense.
How Could a Criminal Charge Change My Life?
Criminal charges — even if you are never convicted of the alleged offense — can have far-reaching effects on anyone’s life. Many people lose their jobs over an allegation of a crime, and thus lose their source of income. Due to a criminal charge, it could be challenging to find another job because most employers tend to overlook the résumés of people who have checked “the box” on job applications.
Criminal charges can also impact familial relationships. As a parent, a criminal charge can be particularly devastating. If you are ultimately convicted and sentenced to incarceration, the time you spend in jail or prison keeps you from participating in your children’s lives or watching them grow if they are young. Criminal charges can also strain your marriage, especially if you’re no longer able to contribute to running the household.
Considering that criminal charges are made public, anyone who runs a background check on you will see your charge unless it is expunged, meaning you could be denied a spot at your college or university of choice if you decide to seek education. If you’re already attending an institution of higher learning, that institution could suspend you or prevent you from completing your program.
Will I Be Able to Own Guns After a Criminal Charge?
Gun possession is strictly regulated in the United States. People charged with certain crimes may be prevented from owning firearms. Federal law prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor domestic violence offense from possessing firearms. Also, if you are named in a domestic violence restraining order, you cannot own a gun legally.
As a misdemeanor offense, it is not likely that you will lose your right to own a gun if you are charged with Improper Exhibition of a Firearm; however, you should discuss your charge thoroughly with your defense lawyer.
Working with a Competent Gun Crime Defense Attorney in Palm Beach County
Don’t face criminal charges without a competent attorney in Palm Beach to defend your case. With a gun rights attorney on your side, it may be possible to have your improper exhibition charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser charge. For over 25 years, Brian Gabriel has stood up for the rights of those with criminal charges against them. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or complete our contact form to discuss your case.