Improper Exhibition of a Firearm

Gun control is an ongoing discussion being had around the nation. While arguments can be made on either side of the issue, the status quo remains to be the law of the land. As an American, you have the right to bear arms, meaning you can possess, handle, and discharge a gun; however, there are restrictions as to how you can manage your firearm. Florida is not an open carry state, which makes openly brandishing a gun illegal. The only instances where doing so is permitted is when:

  • Hunting
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Attending a gun show; and
  • Going to and from such events or activities  (where is the source for this?

Any other instance may result in you getting detained by law enforcement, arrested, booked, and possibly charged with improper exhibition of a firearm. In such cases, it is essential that you secure the legal services of a seasoned criminal defense attorney in your area. The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience representing the accused in the Greater Central Florida area. Reach out to us today and become aware of your legal options going forward.

What is Improper Exhibition?

Florida § 790.10 defines improper exhibition of a firearm or weapon as:

“… any person having or carrying any dirk, sword, sword cane, firearm, electric weapon or device, or other weapon shall, in the presence of one or more persons, exhibit the same in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner, not in necessary self-defense…”

One does not have to exhibit their weapon or firearm threateningly for this charge to be relevant. The mere display of a gun in a careless manner serves as grounds for an arrest. It is also essential to note that one cannot rack up counts on a charge for each person who was in his or her presence at the time of the exhibition, as the law states “… in the presence of one or more persons.”

Florida Penalties for Improper Exhibition

Improper exhibition of a firearm or weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail; or
  • Up to 12 months probation; and
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

As a part of probation, the court may require the individual to complete community service, classes, and abide by a curfew throughout the sentence. Before the judge can issue a verdict, the prosecution must first prove the individual’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant must have:

  • Carried a weapon;
  • Exhibited a weapon in a careless, threatening, angry, or rude manner;
  • Did so in the presence of one or more persons

Defenses to Improper Exhibition of a Firearm

Although classified as a misdemeanor, improper exhibition of a firearm is a severe charge and can result in extensive legal penalties if coupled with other charges. Be sure to acquire a local attorney who can implement defense strategies to your benefit. Some of the most common for this charge in particular include:

  • Defense of property
  • Self-defense
  • Defense of others
  • The instrument in question does not qualify as a “weapon” as legally described
  • The manner of exhibition was not sufficiently rude, careless, or threatening
  • Witnesses were not in the defendant’s “presence”

The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm can help mitigate charges for improper exhibition of a firearm. Our team consists of former state and local prosecutors who understand how the prosecution will approach such cases. We can use our insight to engage in negotiation and have charges lessened or even dismissed if possible. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.