NRS 202.320: Brandishing a Weapon in Nevada—Definition, Penalties, and More

Many states have certain laws that allow someone to draw a firearm or deadly weapon in self-defense to deter a threat against life. This is a way of self-defense against an attacker, as pointing a gun at an attacker convinces them that continuing the attack could be a potential danger to their life.

This form of self-defense is extremely common, though it is rarely talked about. If someone shot an attacker as a self-defense mechanism, they could be excused for killing because it was in self-defense, but they could be accused of brandishing a weapon. The NRS 202.320 law makes it a crime to draw or brandish a knife, firearm, or any deadly weapon in a threatening way.

If you are facing brandishing charges, contact The Defenders.

With offices in Las Vegas and Reno, we at The Defenders have a team of experienced and aggressive attorneys who will fight for your rights. Our team has successfully defended countless clients charged with weapon-related offenses and can help you navigate the complex legal system in Nevada.

Call our office today for a free case evaluation.

What Does Brandishing Mean: Definition Drawing a Deadly Weapon

Brandishing a weapon is defined as displaying or exhibiting a deadly weapon in a threatening manner. This includes drawing the weapon from its holster, concealing it, or pointing it at another person in a menacing way. In Nevada, drawing or brandishing a weapon is considered a crime if all of the following criteria is met:

  • The weapon is drawn, or brandished in an angry or threatening way.
  • The weapon is a deadly weapon such as a gun, knife, sword, dirk, or any other deadly weapon.
  • The drawing of the weapon takes place in the presence of at least two other people.

The biggest factor in these laws is requiring at least two other people in the presence of someone brandishing a weapon.

There are certain exceptions, such as law enforcement members being allowed to draw their weapons if they are actively on the job.

Brandishing a weapon is very different from the Nevada crime of assault with a deadly weapon, which many people tend to combine the two. Assaulting someone with a deadly weapon is charged as a felony in Nevada while brandishing a weapon in a threatening way is only charged as a misdemeanor in Nevada.

Along with brandishing, it is also a crime to aim a firearm at another person, according to NRS 202.294.

Real-life Examples of Brandishing

A few examples can help illustrate the concept of brandishing a weapon.

For instance, during a heated argument, if someone pulls out a gun and points it at another person, they are brandishing a weapon.

Similarly, if someone waves a knife in a threatening manner during a dispute, even if they don’t intend to use it, they are also brandishing a weapon.

Brandishing Penalties

Although it is self-defense, brandishing or drawing a weapon in Nevada is still considered illegal, possibly resulting in a misdemeanor charge. If you are charged with brandishing a weapon, your punishments will likely include:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

If you drew a weapon and attacked, and were charged with assault of a deadly weapon, you will likely receive far worse consequences because it is a category B felony.

  • 1 to 6 years in Nevada State Prison
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

Brandishing vs. Self-Defense

While brandishing a weapon is generally considered a crime, there are situations where it may be justified as an act of self-defense. Nevada law allows individuals to defend themselves if they reasonably believe they are facing serious harm or death.

However, the line between brandishing and self-defense can be blurry, and proving self-defense in court can be challenging.

Defending Against Brandishing Charges

There are situations in which you can defend yourself to fight Nevada charges of drawing a deadly weapon.

  • Self defense: The self-defense law in Nevada allows people to fight back if they reasonably believe they are being harmed and potentially facing serious injury or even death. If a defense attorney can prove that the defendant drew a deadly weapon to protect themselves from harm, the brandishing charges could get dropped.
  • Criteria not met: If there are less than two people physically present to witness the brandishing of a deadly weapon, it is not considered a crime. As long as the prosecution is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that more than one other person was present in the situation, there is a high chance that the criminal charges would be dropped.
  • Falsely accused: People sometimes falsely accuse someone of performing a crime because of anger or revenge, and it is possible that the court can find the defendant was wrongly accused. The defendant could have their charge overturned if evidence is shown that they were falsely accused.

The laws involving brandishing a deadly weapon in a threatening way can be very confusing, whether it is self-defense or not. If you or a loved one has been charged with brandishing and it was self-defense, contact a legal defense team to help aggressively fight the charge to ensure the charge is dismissed.

Common Misconceptions

There are several misconceptions about NRS 202.320 and brandishing a weapon.

For example, some people believe that they can’t be charged with brandishing if they don’t actually use the weapon. However, merely displaying the weapon in a threatening manner can be enough for a brandishing charge.

Another misconception is that brandishing a weapon is the same as assault with a deadly weapon, but these are two separate charges with different elements and penalties.

It’s important to understand the laws and consequences surrounding brandishing a deadly weapon in Nevada to avoid criminal charges and protect your rights. The best defense is knowing your rights and seeking legal counsel if you are ever faced with a charge of brandishing a deadly weapon.

Facing Brandishing Charges?

If you or someone you know is facing charges of brandishing a deadly weapon, the time to act is now. Don’t wait until it’s too late to seek help and protect your rights. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide guidance and representation in your case.

Remember, even if you believe that you acted in self-defense, it’s still important to understand and follow the proper legal procedures to avoid unnecessary charges and penalties.

At The Defenders, our qualified attorneys have had years of experience dealing with a variety of charges, including brandishing. It is important that your record stays clean, and The Defenders will fight for your rights in court.

Contact us today for a free consultation. Let us defend your rights and help you through this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered brandishing a weapon in Nevada?

In Nevada, brandishing a weapon refers to the act of displaying or waving a weapon in a threatening manner. This could be during an argument, fight, or simply to intimidate another person. It is not necessary for the weapon to be fired or used for it to be considered brandishing.

Is brandishing a weapon a crime in Nevada?

Yes, brandishing a weapon in a threatening manner is a crime in Nevada. According to NRS 202.320, “Drawing deadly weapon in a threatening manner” is a misdemeanor offense with possible jail time and monetary fines.

What are the penalties for brandishing a weapon in Nevada?

If convicted of brandishing a weapon in Nevada, you could face up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $1,000. If the incident involved attacking someone with a deadly weapon, which is a crime of assault with a deadly weapon, it could result in harsher penalties such as 1 to 6 years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

What are the possible defenses against brandishing charges in Nevada?

Some possible defenses against brandishing charges in Nevada include self-defense, lack of witnesses, and false accusations. It is important to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney who can assess your case and determine the best course of action for your defense.

Is it possible to have brandishing charges dismissed in Nevada?

Yes, it is possible to have brandishing charges dismissed in Nevada. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you may be able to prove your innocence or negotiate a plea bargain that could result in reduced charges or penalties.

I acted in self-defense, can I still be charged with brandishing in Nevada?

If you acted in self-defense and drew a deadly weapon to protect yourself from harm, it is possible that the charges of brandishing could be dropped. However, it is important to follow proper legal procedures and seek guidance from an experienced attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

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