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Under Florida law, it is a criminal offense to exhibit or “brandish” a weapon in an “improper” manner, as defined by statute. If you have been arrested for the crime of improper exhibition of a firearm or other dangerous weapon in Florida, contact an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and potential defenses.
The offense of Improper Exhibition of a Firearm or other Weapon is defined under
Section 790.10 of the Florida Statutes. The statute prohibits any person from “having
or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other
weapon” and, in the presence of another person, exhibiting the weapon “in a rude,
careless, angry, or threatening manner, and not in necessary self-
To prove the crime of Improper Exhibition of a Firearm or Weapon at trial, the prosecution must establish the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
A defendant may be convicted of improper exhibition for merely carelessly, angrily or rudely displaying a weapon. It is not necessary that the defendant make a threatening gesture with the weapon to be convicted of violating Section 790.10, Florida Statutes. Kase v. State, 581 So. 2d 612, 613 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). It is also not necessary that the exhibition be carried out in an intentional manner. Mere “careless” display of the firearm or weapon is sufficient to subject the accused to criminal liability.
The act of improperly exhibiting a weapon can occur in the presence of one or multiple persons. However, a single act of exhibition in the presence of more than one person can not result in multiple convictions. If the exhibition takes place as part of a single episode, a defendant can only be convicted of the offense once. See Vance v. State, 472 So. 2d 734, 735 (Fla. 1985).
What Qualifies as a “Weapon” Under Florida Law?
To support a conviction for Improper Exhibition of a Firearm or Weapon in Florida,
the instrument used by the accused must qualify as a firearm or other listed “weapon”
under the statute. The definition of a “firearm” is straightforward. It means any
weapon (including a starter gun) which will, is designed to, or may readily be converted
to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive. The definition of “weapon” is
found under Section 790.001(13), Florida Statutes. It means “any dirk, knife, metallic
knuckles, slingshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical weapon or device, or other deadly
weapon except a firearm or a common pocketknife, plastic knife, or blunt-
In interpreting the term “weapon” under Section 790.001(13), Florida Courts have
held that the definition applied only to those objects or instruments specifically
listed in the statute (including firearms), or those objects or instruments classified
as a “dangerous weapon.” If the weapon is not specifically listed, then it must
qualify as a so-
Under Florida law, Improper Exhibition of a Firearm or Weapon is classified as a
first degree misdemeanor. As such, the offense carries penalties of up to 365 days
in jail and a $1,000 fine. Improper Exhibition of a Firearm or Weapon is a permissive
There are multiple defenses to contest a charge of Improperly Exhibiting a Firearm
or Weapon. Whether the instrument in question qualifies as a “weapon” within the
meaning of the statute, the manner of exhibition, self-
If you have been charged with Improper Exhibition of a Firearm or Weapon in Jacksonville, FL, contact Hussein & Webber, PL today. All consultations with our Jacksonville criminal lawyer are free and confidential.
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