Most people are familiar with the term “assault and battery,” but in Colorado you never hear about anyone actually being charged with battery. This is because “battery” in Colorado is legally defined as “menacing” – and it’s something that’s charged quite often.
Case-in-point: On Feb. 15, three men were arrested in Oregon on various charges after a shooting. A 62-year old man told police that the men had fired guns into a parked car at his home. Two of the men were charged with menacing, and all three men face additional charges of unlawful use of a weapon, reckless endangerment, first-degree attempted assault and attempted murder.
Additionally, an Oregon man was recently arrested in Lyons for allegedly making threats to a Boulder web design company. According to a report, he traveled to Boulder to make threats and assault two workers. He is currently facing several felony charges, including menacing.
In this post, we’ll define the law and penalties, and let you know what to do if you’re facing these charges.
How the Menacing Laws in Colorado Work
To be charged with menacing in Colorado, an individual must have allegedly used threat or action to attempt to place or knowingly place someone else in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
Serious bodily injury involves a substantial risk of permanent disfigurement, loss, impairment, burns, fractures, breaks, or death.
Penalties for a menacing conviction depend on several details of the case. If the defendant did not use a deadly weapon, for example, a class 3 misdemeanor charge will apply. This includes penalties of up to six months in jail, a fine between $50 and $750, or both.
If the defendant did use a deadly weapon or an article reasonably believed to be a deadly weapon, or if the defendant verbally expressed being armed with a deadly weapon, the charge is a class 5 felony. Penalties include 1-3 years in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $100,000.
The Colorado laws include many kinds of deadly weapons, such as knives, guns, metal tools, chainsaws, baseball bats, blow torches, and even human fists. Depending on the circumstance, other objects can be considered deadly weapons as well. A knowledgeable Denver battery attorney will understand the specific details in your case.
Defenses to a Menacing Charge in Colorado
It’s important to call an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as charges are filed against you. Your attorney may be able to use one or more of the following defenses, depending on the details of your case.
- Lack of intent. You made a careless remark but had no intention of placing someone in fear of serious bodily injury.
- False accusation. You did not speak or act as the plaintiff described. You made no threats.
- No weapon. You did not possess a weapon at the time of the event.
- Not a deadly weapon. You possessed a weapon, but it does not qualify as a deadly weapon under Colorado law.
- Self-defense. Your actions were used to protect yourself against harm.
Only a skilled Denver defense attorney will know if any of these defenses will work for you in your specific circumstances.
If you are facing battery or menacing charges, it’s essential to seek help from a qualified Colorado criminal defense lawyer. We can help you navigate your charges and possibly get them reduced or dismissed. Call today for a free case review. We’ll fight to protect your rights and reputation.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.