Denver Menacing Defense Lawyer
Colorado Misdemeanor & Felony Menacing
Charged with criminal menacing? Colorado menacing charges are not a joking matter. Although the minimum crime class is a class C misdemeanor, in some situations menacing is a felony. The Denver criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Kevin Cahill will fully investigate the circumstances leading to the menacing charge against you to build a strong case, vigorously defending you from prosecution.
Simple Menacing Definition
The classic definition of menacing is to threaten, express intention to harm, or inflict pain or destruction. However, Colorado criminal code gives a much narrower definition to the crime of menacing.
What Is a Menacing Crime in Colorado?
Menacing is the legal term for what may be deemed ‘assault’ or ‘intimidation’ in other states — any conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear of his or her immediate safety. Menacing can be committed with a weapon or with words alone, and the only elements the prosecutor will be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt are that you knowingly placed someone in fear of imminent bodily injury, even if the person was not actually injured.
In some cases, a defendant may be convicted of menacing even if the victim testifies that he or she was not put in fear of his or her life – such as a situation where the victim was asleep at the time of the conduct. As long as the prosecution can prove that a reasonable person would have been placed in fear by the conduct, a judge or jury may find the defendant guilty of menacing.
Menacing can also be a component of other crimes, like kidnapping or stalking. For example, someone who engages in menacing in an effort to induce the victim to engage in prostitution can be found guilty of pandering as well.
What if my charge of menacing in Denver was brought about through an online argument, and there was no face-to-face exchange?
The advent of the internet and its ability to instantly connect people from around the globe has provided innumerable benefits, but has a dark side as well; in fact, around 4 in 10 internet users report having experienced online harassment of some sort. The U.S. Supreme Court recently addressed this phenomenon at a federal level in U.S. v. Anthony D. Elonis, finding that a Pennsylvania man who used his social media account to discuss wanting to slit his estranged wife’s throat could not be convicted of ‘menacing’ if it was not shown that he engaged in this conduct intending it to be viewed as a threat. Through the vigorous efforts of his defense team, he was acquitted of all charges.
Being charged with menacing — especially menacing with a weapon — can mean a felony conviction. It is important to know what types of behavior can be construed as ‘menacing’ under Colorado law, and how best to defend yourself if you have been charged with menacing or harassment.
What penalties could you face if convicted of menacing conduct?
In some cases, menacing is charged as a Class 3 misdemeanor. If convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor, you could face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of between $50.00 and $750.00. Depending upon your criminal history and other individual factors that can weigh toward or against leniency, the sentencing judge may exercise discretion to commute part or even all of your sentence to home detention or probation, especially if doing so can prevent you from losing your job or going into foreclosure. Having an experienced Denver criminal defense attorney with knowledge of the Colorado Criminal Court System can go a long way in ensuring your continued freedom.
However, if you’re charged with committing an act of menacing while using a weapon (or threatening to use a weapon), you can be charged with a Class 5 felony. The felony charge may be assessed even if the weapon you used was non-deadly (like a BB gun) or if you were bluffing and had no weapon at all. Class 5 felony convictions can result in a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years and a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000, and the opportunity for sentencing leniency is lessened. You may lose your ability to own a firearm if convicted of felony menacing.
Because the difference between menacing with a weapon and without a weapon can be years of incarceration and tens of thousands of dollars, it can be very important from a defense perspective to contest the admissibility of any evidence of a weapon or threat of a weapon.
Most people can’t deny that they’ve been in a situation that, when pushed and angered, they have ‘reacted’ before thinking about the potential consequences. A situation where someone may be baiting you, and you threaten them to the point that they are fearful, can garner a charge of menacing. If you have been charged with menacing in Colorado, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced menacing defense lawyer. Remember, what might seem like a heated exchange that went too far is nothing to contact a lawyer about, a charge of menacing will mean having a criminal record, which in turn can negatively affect any future charges brought against you.
Don’t take menacing charges lightly! Call the Law Office of Kevin Cahill at (720) 548-2990 today, to defend your rights and future freedom. We work tirelessly to ensure clients don’t get railroaded by the prosecution.
Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.