Improper Exhibition of a Weapon or Firearm - Florida Statute 790.10
This crime is not often charged by itself in West Palm Beach. When a person commits aggravated assault with a firearm, they necessarily commit this crime. This charge is normally brought up during aggravated assault plea deal negotiating. The prosecutor might not think he has enough evidence or the defendant thinks there might be too much evidence against him and it might be advantageous for either party to negotiate a plea deal involving this lesser charge as opposed to the more serious aggravated assault charge.
What the State has to Prove for You to Be Convicted of Improper Exhibition of a Weapon
For you to be convicted under Florida Statute 790.10, the state prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You had a weapon on you or carried a weapon on you;
- You showed the weapon in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner; and
- You did this in front of other people.
Florida has a broad definition of weapon which includes, but not limited to, tazers, knives, swords, brass knuckles, or billie clubs.
When a person commits aggravated assault with a gun, they necessarily commit this crime. Aggravated assault with a gun happens when the defendant (1) intentionally threatens to hurt the victim with a gun, (2) it looks like the defendant could hurt the victim, and (3) the victim had a reasonable fear that he could be hurt.
You can be convicted of this crime even though you did not intend to threaten anyone but only showed the weapon in front of other people in a rude, careless, or angry manner. See Kase v. State. This standard is an objective standard (what a reasonable person watching you would think) as opposed to a subjective standard (what you thought your actions looked like).
Defenses to the Crime of Improper Exhibition of a Weapon or Firearm
The facts surrounding the case are going to determine what types of defenses are going to be raised.
An individual being charged with this crime in West Palm Beach can raise the defense of self-defense. Florida law does allow individuals to defend themselves if they are being attacked. See Florida Statute 776.012. Sometimes people try to get creative and argue that they did attack the victim but when the victim attacked them back, they were trying to “defend” themselves from the fight they started. Florida law does not allow for the person who started the fight to hide behind the defense of self-defense, unless certain exceptions apply. See Florida Statute 776.041.
Punishment for Improper Exhibition of a Weapon or Firearm
Improper exhibition of a weapon or firearm is a first-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 365 days in jail with a $1,000 fine. Aggravated assault with a firearm is a third-degree felony which has a minimum mandatory sentence of 3 years in prison. If the person charged with aggravated assault with a firearm has previously been convicted of a felony listed in Florida Statute 775.084(1)(b)1 , there is a 10 year minimum mandatory prison sentence. Agreeing to a plea deal with this charge can be much more advantageous to a defendant than potentially risking a conviction of aggravated assault with a firearm (1 year max in jail vs. 3 years minimum in prison).
Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
If you have been charged with improper exhibition or aggravated assault with a gun, contact The Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.. Our West Palm Beach lawyers have experience with firearms and dealing with these types of criminal cases. Our firm focuses on criminal matters and will seek the best outcome for you.