In Colorado, making threats of violence is usually something that will result in a misdemeanor charge. Yet it’s still possible to be charged with a felony when you don’t even have physical contact with another person.
It’s called menacing and there are three instances of menacing under Colorado law that could land you in some seriously hot legal water. Here’s what you need to know about menacing, the penalties a conviction can carry, and defense strategies against it.
Menacing: What is it?
You can be charged with menacing in Colorado if you knowingly threaten or attempt to make someone fearful that you will seriously injure or kill them. In some states, it’s also called “making criminal threats” or even assault.
Basic menacing charges are often a Class 3 misdemeanor. That charge is punishable by a probation sentence, up to six months in jail, and a potential fine of up to $750. However, there are a few instances that can result in felony menacing charges that can result in more serious charges and associated penalties.
Three Ways Menacing Can Be a Felony
There are three things that prosecutors can point to in order to turn a misdemeanor menacing charge into a felony menacing charge. These things are:
Knowingly Placing Another Person in Fear
If you threaten or intimidate someone else and understand or purposefully intend to cause them to fear harm, then you can be charged with felony menacing. It’s the intent behind the menacing actions that prosecutors look at and must prove in order to convict.
Using a Deadly Weapon
There are many crimes where the charges can be more serious when a deadly weapon is involved, and menacing happens to be one of them. If prosecutors can prove that a deadly weapon was used to threaten or intimidate someone else, then a felony can be charged.
Deadly weapons include items such as:
- Baseball bats
- Metal tools
- Fists (depending on the circumstances of the case)
Serious Bodily Injury
You can be found guilty of felony menacing if you threaten seriously bodily injury, not simply injury. Seriously bodily injury is defined as an injury as has a substantial risk of disfigurement, impairment of a bodily function, fracture, or death.
Penalties for Felony Menacing
In Colorado, the penalties for a felony menacing conviction are more severe than the misdemeanor charge. If you are convicted of felony menacing, then you can face up to three years in prison and fines up to $100,000.
If you do not have a history of violent crime or an extensive criminal history that involves convictions of crimes such as domestic violence, then it may be possible that probation is given in lieu of a prison sentence. However, breaking any rules of probation can land you in prison to finish the sentence.
Possible Menacing Defenses
If you are charged with menacing in Colorado, especially if it’s felony menacing, then it’s important to have the proper representation in court. An experienced attorney can help to mount a defense in your case that can include a few possible strategies including.
- Lack of use of a deadly weapon
- Lack of threat
- Lack of intent to cause fear
- Acting in self-defense
- Lack of fear of serious bodily injury
- Lack of confrontation with the alleged victim
If the evidence against you is lacking in any of these areas, then it may be possible to fight the felony charge.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.