Menacing can either be a misdemeanor or felony charge. Menacing is a class 3 misdemeanor if a person, by threat or physical action, knowingly places or attempts to place another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. However, menacing is a class 5 felony if committed by the use of a deadly weapon or any item that would cause another to reasonably believe that item is in fact a deadly weapon, or if committed by a person acting as if they are actually armed with a deadly weapon.
An essential element of both misdemeanor and felony menacing is a specific intent to cause fear in the victim. Intent to actually harm the victim is unnecessary. In fact, it is unnecessary for the victim to actually hear or be aware of any threat from the defendant; it is also unnecessary that the victim actually experience any fear. Rather, if the prosecution can present evidence from which the jury can reasonably conclude that the defendant knew his actions, if discovered, would place the victim in fear of imminent serious bodily injury, then the intent element of the crime can be established.