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Improper Exhibition of a Firearm

Under Florida Statute Section 790.10, the charge of improper exhibition of a firearm or other dangerous weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 12 months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine.

The charge of improper exhibition of a firearm or other weapon requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the following elements:

  1. The Defendant carried a weapon;
  2. The Defendant exhibited the weapon in a threatening, careless, angry or rude manner;
  3. The Defendant did so in the presence of at least one other person.

The first-degree misdemeanor offense of improper exhibition applies to any dangerous weapon including a sword, firearm or electric device such as a taser.

Several important defenses can exist when you brandished the weapon in self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property.

Attorneys for Improper Exhibition of a Firearm in Tampa, FL

If you have been arrested for the crime of improper exhibition of a firearm (brandishing a weapon) in Tampa, FL, or the surrounding areas in Tampa Bay, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm, P.A.

Related charges for crimes of violence include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or discharge of a firearm.

Since 2008, our offices have been at the same location just a few blocks from the courthouse. The four criminal defense attorneys at the firm are exclusively focused on criminal defense.

We help clients charged with a variety of different types of weapon charges throughout the Tampa Bay area including Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, and Polk County, Florida.

Call (813) 250-0500 to talk with us about the facts of your case today.

Brandishing a Weapon under Florida Law

The misdemeanor offense of “improper exhibition of a weapon” is also commonly referred to as “brandishing” a weapon. The crime of improper exhibition of a firearm is a permissive lesser-included offense of aggravated assault.

Many people are surprised to learn that the offense of improper exhibition does not have to be committed intentionally. Although as a practical matter, prosecutions for the careless exhibition of a firearm are probably rare.

Since most crimes must be committed by acting intentionally, knowingly and willfully, prosecutors would have a hard time convincing a jury that a merely careless act is a crime.

Recently, the Florida Senate has passed new legislation that creates a defense to another misdemeanor firearm statute for openly carrying a firearm if the display was an accident.

It remains to be seen whether this new defense will also impact prosecutions for the “careless” improper exhibition of a firearm.

Other defenses revolve around the exhibition occurring on private property. In some cases, a defensive display of the firearm might be excused if it was done in self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property.

This article was last updated on Friday, July 5, 2019.


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