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Under Colorado law, the crime of menacing involves making a threat against someone. If the threat does not include a weapon, it is considered a Class 3 Misdemeanor. However, if the threat involves a weapon, it is regarded as a Class 5 Felony. Felony menacing carries a possible prison sentence in the Colorado Department of Corrections. As with any felony that involves a weapon, judges and prosecutors treat this charge seriously and sentence someone convicted of menacing harshly. If you or a loved one is charged with menacing in Denver or a surrounding area in Colorado, choose a criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling a felony menacing case. Choose Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. Call today to request your free initial consultation to see how we can help.
How Is Menacing Defined in the State of Colorado?
The state of Colorado defines the crime of menacing as “any threat or physical action that knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.” Serious bodily injury may include anything from broken bones to injuries resulting in a physical or mental disability. The threat must be imminent, meaning if you merely threaten to harm the other individual in vague futuristic terms, it may not be considered menacing behavior. Menacing also includes verbal threats and gestures without a physical action or weapon. The risk of violent behavior is treated seriously by judges and prosecutors alike because many behavioral and psychological experts believe that if ignored, this behavior may escalate into an actual act of violence.
A Few Words Regarding Felony Menacing with a Weapon
To be considered a felony offense, menacing must involve making threats using a deadly weapon. However, the definition of a weapon varies because even everyday objects like a golf club or a baseball bat may be fashioned to resemble a deadly weapon under the right circumstances. In some cases, the court may even consider the defendant’s hands a deadly weapon. For example, throwing a punch at someone else in a bar could result in menacing charges, even if the other person was not actually hit. A person who is knowingly HIV positive and threatens to harm the victim by giving them HIV may also be found guilty of felony menacing. You may also find yourself being charged with felony menacing even if the weapon was not loaded or was never pointed directly at the intended victim. Simply having a weapon present is often enough for a jury to find someone guilty of felony menacing.
What Are Common Scenarios Involving Menacing?
Menacing is often the result of road-rage incidents. There have been countless cases involving one driver waving around a handgun either while both vehicles are in motion or stationary in a parking lot because the two drivers involved were engaged in a dispute over the same parking space. Often, menacing may also include assault, stalking, or domestic violence charges. For example, if you kept showing up at your ex’s home or place of employment to make threats of physical harm, you could be charged with menacing by stalking.
Penalties Surrounding Misdemeanor Menacing Charges
Class 3 misdemeanor menacing convictions in Colorado typically carry fines ranging from $50 to $750 and possible jail sentencing up to six months, depending on the circumstances and the defendant’s criminal history. However, even a misdemeanor charge will give you a permanent criminal record. Other consequences of a conviction may include job loss, the loss of your home, or the breakdown of your relationship or family. If you were also charged with domestic violence or stalking, you might also face a Colorado protective order that further restricts your freedoms.
Penalties Surrounding Felony Menacing Charges in Colorado
Class 5 felony menacing convictions in Colorado carry a possible sentence of one to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections and potential fines up to $100,000. Often, the prison sentence will also be followed by two years of parole. Depending on the extenuating circumstances, the court may also decide to increase the prison sentence or opt for a probationary sentence instead of prison.
The Best Defense Against Menacing Charges in Colorado
Menacing is a difficult criminal offense to defend under any circumstances. However, self-defense is one of the best defenses against menacing charges in Colorado. If you can prove that your life or the life of another was in imminent danger when you displayed your weapon or made a threat against someone else, you may have the right to plead self-defense. When it comes to menacing charges, don’t sell yourself short by hiring an inexperienced attorney who is unfamiliar with the state laws governing the subject. You owe it to yourself, as well as your freedom and reputation, to hire a criminal defense attorney with a record of winning similar cases. Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. represents clients facing both felony and misdemeanor menacing charges in Denver, CO. View client testimonials to see why you should feel confident consulting our law firm!
A Criminal Defense Law Firm with 35+ Years of Experience
Ranked in the Top 100 National Trial Lawyers and the Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel (NADC), Mastro, Barnes & Stazzone P.C. has over 35 years of legal expertise representing clients charged with menacing and various other criminal offenses. Our law firm serves the entire Denver metro area, including Aurora, Boulder, Centennial, Greenwood Village, Littleton, and many other surrounding communities. If you need an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney in the Denver area, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation!