Colorado Felony Menacing Lawyers
The crime of Menacing in the state of Colorado can be charged either as a felony or as a misdemeanor. Many people have questions about the difference between misdemeanor vs. felony charges, the most significant being the difference in possible penalties and the consequences on your permanent criminal history record. If you or a loved one is charged with the crime of felony menacing, you are facing a class 5 felony offense in the state of Colorado. If you are convicted of felony menacing, you will remain a convicted felon for life.
How Does The State Prove Felony Menacing?
Felony menacing is defined in Colorado Revised Statutes 18-3-206. In order to prove that a defendant is guilty of felony menacing, the state must prove that the defendant placed, or attempted to place, another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury by means of a deadly weapon. In plain language, the state is saying that you threatened someone with a gun, or a knife, or something that could do some serious damage. By the way, it doesn't even have to be an actual deadly weapon. If you threaten your neighbor with an air-gun, but they reasonably think that it is a real gun, you can still be charged with felony menacing. If you tell your neighbor that you have a gun and you're going to shoot them, but you don't show it to them, you still can be charged with felony menacing. If you hold tell your neighbor that you are going to get them, and you reach into your jacket as if you are going to pull out a gun, even in this situation you could be charged with felony menacing. Because of the broad language of this statute, this charge comes up in many different situations, even in situations when the defendant may be completely innocent, or may have been acting in self defense.
Felony Menacing Penalties
Felony menacing carries a possible penalty of 1-3 years in the Colorado department of corrections, along with 2 years of mandatory parole. The fines for felony menacing range from $1,000 - $100,000. If the judge finds that the crime of felony menacing was committed as an extraordinary risk crime, or under exceptional circumstances, the penalties increase to a maximum of 6-8 years in the department of corrections. Unlike crimes of violence such as Assault in the Second Degree, Felony Menacing does not require mandatory prison time. This means that the judge is able to impose a probationary sentence or county jail rather than prison if he or she finds that a non-prison sentence is appropriate.
What Can I Do If I'm Charged with Felony Menacing?
Felony menacing is a very serious charge, and needs to be handled in a proper manner to guarantee the best possible outcome. First if you are being investigated and haven't yet been charged, you should absolutely exercise your 5th Amendment right to remain silent. As we discussed here, you should never speak to the police without a lawyer present. If you or a loved one is charged with felony menacing you should politely decline to make any statement, then you should absolutely hire an experienced attorney to represent your rights. These are cases that often have strong defenses, whether the defense is denial or self defense. Even if the case is not very defensible, a seasoned lawyer who has experience negotiating with the prosecutor is necessary to put you in the best position to minimize the severe penalties associated with this charge. If you have questions about your felony menacing charge, give us a call. We can help!