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Ohio Brandishing Law Overview

Updated: November 21, 2023
Nicholas G. Gounaris
By Nicholas G. Gounaris

Nicholas G. Gounaris is a skilled trial lawyer and founding partner of Gounaris Abboud law firm. He provides clients of the firm with competent legal representation and focuses his law practice in the areas of DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Family Law Issues, Federal Criminal Law and Personal Injury cases.

ohio brandishing law

If you face an allegation of brandishing a weapon, you may be unclear regarding the nature of the charge, the possible defenses, the penalties if convicted, and whether you need an attorney.

These are all relevant concerns because Ohio brandishing law makes brandishing a crime in certain circumstances, and you need a strong defense.

Is Brandishing a Firearm Illegal?

Brandishing (to swing or wave) a weapon is not necessarily a crime in Ohio. Brandishing law is referenced as an add-on offense. Here is why.

The primary statute in this area states that brandishing or displaying a firearm in the course of a felony is an offense. Example: Fighting and threatening can be felonies of battery and communicating threats (menacing).

If you brandish a weapon during either of these violations, law enforcement will likely charge you with the initial offense plus a brandishing charge.

What Are the Defenses to Brandishing a Weapon Charge?

An attorney will need to review all the circumstances of a case to determine the best defense. Though defenses are not universal to every situation, here are some defenses attorneys often use in Ohio brandishing law alleged violations.


Suppose you were in the midst of a confrontation and charged with threatening another. Your lawyer may argue that you brandished your weapon to defend yourself or another, which is allowable by law.

Lack of Intent

Inherent in brandishing charges is the idea that you are acting in a threatening manner. If you had a weapon out but were joking with a friend, cleaning it, unloading it, putting it away, etc., the lawyer may argue that you did not intend to brandish it with any level of threat.

Illegal Police Conduct

In every criminal case, the law requires that police follow specific guidelines regarding investigations, arrests, interrogations, and more. If they violated those or other laws in the course of your case, your attorney might be able to get your charge dismissed.

What Are Possible Penalties for a Conviction of Brandishing a Weapon?

In Ohio, a brandishing law provides a specific penalty of mandatory years added to a prison sentence. Brandishing or displaying a firearm in the course of a felony offense adds three additional years to the punishment for the initial crime.

Other Firearm Charges

Ohio statutes identify numerous criminal violations regarding firearms. While most do not specifically reference the term “brandishing,” they often cover having or using a firearm in various circumstances (i.e., firing a weapon, having a gun on school property, providing a gun to a minor, etc.). When you face any firearm charge, you should get a lawyer.

How Do I Find a Lawyer for a Brandishing a Weapon Charge?

Lawyers can accept any case they feel competent to handle. However, do your due diligence.

Choose a lawyer who is:

  • A criminal defense lawyer;
  • Experienced in Ohio brandishing law cases;
  • Available to you for a free consultation to gauge your comfort level with the lawyer.

Finding an attorney with these qualities helps ensure that you have a vigorous defense to fight a brandishing weapon charge.

Gounaris Abboud, LPA: Dedicated Legal Counsel

Gounaris Abboud, LPA, is a criminal defense firm, well-versed in Ohio brandishing law. We are ready to defend you in your firearms charge.

We offer a free consultation and take on all levels of cases in Dayton and throughout Ohio. Contact us today or give us a call at 937-222-1515.

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