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Good morning. I certainly understand the situation and your concern. A key element for a person to be guilty of this is that their actions need to "reasonable induce fear". As such, it would need to be determined what actually transpired, that resulted in this neighbor claiming that your friend brandished the toy gun at him. Moreover, it would need to be determined just how real this toy gun looked and if it really did have the appearance of a real gun. In a situation like this, it would be the word of your friend against the word of the neighbor, if the case went to trial. The State has the burden of proving the charge beyond a reason doubt, which is very high, so they may not have enough evidence to convict, so this may be a situation where he wants to go to trial and testify on his own behalf, since he did not do anything wrong. It seems as though this situation escalated very quickly, so it would need to be determined just how the neighbor got in involved and what interaction your friend had with him. Absent any physical evidence to show what happened, it would be the testimony
of each person and any witnesses.
§ 18.2-282. Pointing, holding, or brandishing firearm, air or gas operated weapon or object similar in appearance; penalty.
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to point, hold or brandish any firearm or any air or gas operated weapon or any object similar in appearance, whether capable of being fired or not, in such manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another or hold a firearm or any air or gas operated weapon in a public place in such a manner as to reasonably induce fear in the mind of another of being shot or injured. However, this section shall not apply to any person engaged in excusable or justifiable self-defense. Persons violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor
or, if the violation occurs upon any public, private or religious elementary, middle or high school, including buildings and grounds or upon public property within 1,000 feet of such school property, he shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony.
B. Any police officer in the performance of his duty, in making an arrest under the provisions of this section, shall not be civilly liable in damages for injuries or death resulting to the person being arrested if he had reason to believe that the person being arrested was pointing, holding, or brandishing such firearm or air or gas operated weapon, or object that was similar in appearance, with intent to induce fear in the mind of another.
C. For purposes of this section, the word "firearm" means any weapon that will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel single or multiple projectiles by the action of an explosion of a combustible material. The word "ammunition," as used herein, shall mean a cartridge, pellet, ball, missile or projectile adapted for use in a firearm.
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