You’re facing serious charges after being accused of threatening someone with a firearm. The authorities are claiming that you assaulted the other party with a deadly weapon.
While you did have a handgun on you at the time, you contend that it was not actually a deadly weapon at all. The gun was not loaded. You never planned to shoot anyone and you could not have done so, even if you wanted to. At best, the gun was as dangerous as any other blunt object. You could have struck someone with it, but you could never have caused serious injury, much less taken a life.
The courts in Florida have considered this type of situation already. You should know that they decided that an unloaded firearm does, in fact, count as a deadly weapon. This does not apply to weapons that are not firearms — such as a crossbow — but a gun is thought of as a deadly weapon regardless of whether it is loaded or not.
The issue is that the rounds in a handgun are hidden from the person being threatened. Not only may they have no time to decide if the gun is loaded or not, but they can’t actually tell without closely examining the weapon. Therefore, they have to assume that it is loaded and react accordingly. In that sense, the firearm appears deadly either way and the charges can stand.
As you can imagine, cases like this are fairly complex and have serious ramifications, so you need to understand all of your defense options.