A Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Explains the Consequences of Improperly Exhibiting a Firearm or Weapon


Improper exhibition of a firearm or weapon” may not sound like a serious crime, but even so, you don’t want this charge on your record. Below, a Florida criminal defense attorney explains the penalties for improper exhibition, as well as a few defenses that might apply to your case.

What Is Improper Firearm or Weapon Exhibition?

Legally, “improper exhibition” means that you carelessly, rudely, or aggressively displayed a weapon. You don’t necessarily need to threaten others with the weapon; acting aggressively or carelessly is enough for this deadly weapon charge.

A prosecutor can charge you with an improper exhibition for carelessly displaying:

  • Any firearm (pistols, machine guns, assault rifles, etc.)
  • Knives
  • Dirks
  • Billie clubs
  • Swords
  • Slingshots
  • Metallic knuckles
  • Tear gas guns
  • Chemical weapons

Is Improper Handling Of a Firearm a Felony?

Improper handling of a firearm can indeed lead to serious consequences, including potential felony charges. In many jurisdictions, the careless or reckless use of a firearm is considered a serious offense due to the inherent risks and dangers involved. Such actions can endanger lives, result in injury or death, and contribute to the overall prevalence of gun-related violence in society. Felony charges for improper firearm handling may encompass a range of behaviors, such as brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner, discharging a firearm in a reckless manner, or carrying a concealed weapon without the necessary permits.

When it comes to firearm laws, individuals must understand and adhere to the regulations in their jurisdiction to avoid legal repercussions. In cases where improper firearm handling weapon leads to felony charges, individuals may face severe penalties, including hefty fines, imprisonment, and a permanent criminal record. Therefore, gun owners and users need to prioritize safety, proper training, and responsible behavior when handling firearms to prevent any potential legal issues and contribute to a safer community for all.

What Penalties Can You Face for Improper Exhibition?

The improper exhibition is less serious than aggravated assault. Although it’s only a first-degree misdemeanor, improper exhibition can result in harsh penalties.

If convicted, you’ll have to pay a fine of up to $1,000. The court may also penalize you with 12 months of probation or up to one year in jail.

Comparatively, aggravated assault is a third-degree felony that carries a minimum three-year prison sentence. If you’ve previously been convicted of a felony, aggravated assault has a 10-year minimum prison sentence. It’s crucial to seek legal advice from a criminal defense lawyer to understand your options.

If you want to know more about potential penalties, contact a Florida criminal defense attorney.

What the State Must Prove To Convict You

For a prosecutor to show that you are guilty of improper exhibition, they must prove that:

  • You had a weapon on you.
  • You displayed the weapon in a threatening, rude, or careless manner.
  • You did so in front of other people.

If you intentionally meant to hurt someone with your weapon, the prosecutor can upgrade the charge to aggravated assault.

Defenses to Improper Exhibition

If you wish to avoid conviction, your Florida defense attorney might argue that you brandished your weapon in self-defense. For instance, if you genuinely thought that someone would hurt you or others, you have the right to protect yourself from them.

However, your Florida criminal defense lawyer cannot say you acted in self-defense if you started the fight. For instance, you can’t say, “Sure, I attacked Bob. But then he came after me with a weapon, and I was scared, so I pulled out my gun.”

Your legal defense in Florida might also be able to argue that an instrument does not meet the legal definition of a weapon. For instance, if the instrument in question is a dull plastic knife, that doesn’t exactly qualify as a deadly weapon.

Is There a Possibility of a Lesser Charge?

If you hire a good criminal defense lawyer in Florida, yes. Your attorney may be able to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct. This is much better because disorderly conduct only comes with a$500 fine and a maximum of 60 days in jail.

What Should You Do If You Are Accused of Improper Exhibition?

If you’re facing an improper exhibition charge, you should first call a criminal defense lawyer in Florida. Your Florida criminal defense counsel will build a strong case in your defense and fight for the lightest possible sentence for you.

Call Us for Reliable Legal Defense in Florida

Don’t risk the consequences of representing yourself in a trial. Instead, reach out to a Florida criminal defense attorney at (954) 270-0769 for a free consultation. Michael White, P.A. handles everything from misdemeanors to first-degree felonies and will fight aggressively on your behalf.

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After several years as a prosecutor and General Counsel for the Broward County Police Benevolence Association (PBA), Michael White started his own practice focused on protecting individuals accused of crimes.

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