Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Convicts of menacing often struggle in various aspects of their lives because of the criminal record that comes with it. It’s worse for felony convicts because the history will remain for life. Fighting the charges from the beginning is the best way to secure your freedom and shield yourself from the life-changing consequences of a ‘guilty verdict.

The best outcome is always a product of a good, strategic criminal defense in Denver. Notably, the menacing laws in Colorado are complex, and navigating through them requires a lot of legal experience.

What Does the Prosecution Need to Prove a Menacing Charge?

A case that doesn’t meet the legal definition of menacing can be easily thrown out of court. Thus, the prosecution needs to prove that you are guilty, failure to which they will not get a conviction for the case.

They must show that you:

Used a Deadly Weapon

In instances where the prosecution wants to convict your case as a felony, they have to show that a deadly weapon was used. A deadly weapon could be a baseball bat, a gun, or a knife. A toy gun can also fall in this category in some instances.

Caused Serious Bodily Injury

The prosecution also has to show the jury that you caused the victim injuries, such as the substantial risk of serious impairment of a bodily function, fracture, disfigurement, or death. And if the actual act did not happen, they need to prove that the victim reasonably feared that these injuries could be inflicted on them.

Placed Another Person in Fear

Merely intimidating or threatening someone is not enough to get a conviction. There must be proof that your intention was to make them afraid, and you were aware of the impact.

What are Some of the Common Defenses for Menacing?

There are many defenses that accused persons can use to escape the consequences of a conviction in Denver. The most appropriate defense depends on the specific facts of your case. But the commonly used defenses include:

  • You acted in self-defense
  • You reasonably didn’t realize that your words or actions would scare the victim
  • Though you had a weapon, it wasn’t deadly
  • You had no weapon
  • Your statements were not threats

The legal definition of menacing is constant. What varies, is the circumstances under which one is charged. Therefore, a legal defense should be built around the latter in relation to the former. Remember that a one-size-fits-all approach is bound to fail. An experienced and skilled Denver menacing lawyer will listen to your story and use its facts to formulate a strong argument that can guarantee your freedom.

What Aspects Cannot be Used as a Defense?

In Colorado, your intentions are very integral to a menacing case. Whether the victim experienced the feelings you wanted them to experience or not, your intentions determine whether you get a ‘guilty’ verdict or not.

Here are examples of circumstances and their possible verdicts:

  • Saying “I’m going to shoot you,” even when you had no gun with you, can have you convicted.
  • A hunter picking a gun from his car, and someone nearby gets scared for their lives. The hunter might not be found guilty of menacing since his intentions were contrary to the victim’s perception.
  • Pointing a gun at someone hoping that they will get scared, but they fail to see it can make you guilty of the offense.
  • Holding a weapon in another person’s presence, without pointing it at them is a crime in Colorado.
  • Threatening someone with an unloaded gun is an offense because you intended to scare them.
  • Threatening using disease or your hands can get similar penalties as using a gun. For instance, telling someone that you are HIV positive and thereafter biting and scratching them can land you a menacing conviction.

Defending yourself against menacing charges is not as easy as many would want to think. A defense that would look sensible could outrightly be rejected in court, and vice versa. But based on the facts of your situation, a Denver menacing attorney can tell you whether a particular argument would see the light of day.

What are the Consequences of a Weak Defense?

Winning a menacing case in Denver is dependent on the kind of defenses that will be used in your case. The thing is, the prosecution will be doing their best to convince the judge that you are guilty, while your defense team attempts to plant doubt in the minds of the jury. It takes experience, skills, and expertise to defend you successfully.

If your Denver defense lawyer isn’t strategic enough, you will likely lose the case and get convicted. You might be convicted of a Class 3 misdemeanor if no deadly weapon was used in the menacing. Its penalties include:

  • $50 to $750 in fines
  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • probation

The consequences could be even more grievous if the incident involved a deadly weapon. It could be that the victim had reasons to believe that you actually had a weapon, or that you actually had the weapon and used it. Being a class 5 misdemeanor, you risk:

  • $1,000 to $100,000 in fines
  • 1 – 3 years’ imprisonment
  • Parole or probation
  • Court-martial proceedings for active members of the military
  • Loss of the right to possess firearms

Accused persons that want to avoid the above consequences should consider working with a seasoned menacing attorney in Denver, CO.

A Justice Defender with Decades of Experience

People charged or being investigated for menacing are often reminded to remain quiet until their attorney arrives. Speaking is a sign of waiving a right provided in the 5th Amendment. Allowing your attorney to do all the legal work is a great way to avoid costly mistakes.

Daniel M. Murphy gives each case deserving personalized attention. Our staff will never treat you as “another case number,” like it happens with most of the big firms. Schedule a FREE consultation with us and let’s discuss your case in detail.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.