Under PC 417, it is unlawful for every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, to draw or exhibit anydeadly weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or in any manner, unlawfully use a deadly weapon in any fight or quarrel.
The California law defines deadly weapon as any object, instrument, or weapon capable of producing and likely to produce death or great bodily injury. This any object can become a deadly weapon depending on the intended use. The most common deadly weapons are firearms, but ordinary objects can become deadly weapons as well.
Elements of the Crime
In order to be prosecuted and convicted under PC 417, the following elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- Possession of a deadly weapon,
- You drew or exhibited any deadly weapon in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, OR
- Unlawfully use a deadly weapon in any fight or quarrel
The prosecutor may seek additional punishment by proving any of the following:
- Use of a firearm under PC 417(a)(2)(A)
- The firearm was loaded under PC 417(b)
- The defendant was inside a vehicle with another passenger (PC 417.6(a)
- Brandishing occurred on the children’s daycare center grounds during business hours, PC 417(b)
- The defendant was in the presence of an on-duty peace officer (PC 417(c))
The statute does not apply to self defense. The prosecution often cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt the rude, angry, or threatening manner. Although these element are judged under an objective standard, the prosecutor must convince the jury that you were not merely showing the weapon or joking.