Being charged with felony menacing in Colorado Springs can be frightening and leave you feeling uncertain about your future. The charges are serious, carrying the potential for severe punishment, including jail time and a permanent mark on your record. And the consequences of a conviction can extend beyond the legal ramifications and affect your personal life, employment prospects, and relationships.
But you are not alone. As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Colorado Springs, Christian Schwaner has spent over two decades representing clients facing a wide range of serious criminal charges, including felony menacing. He has the knowledge and experience to ensure your rights are protected, and he will fight to ensure you get the best possible outcome for your case.
If you’re facing felony menacing charges in Colorado Springs, you need an aggressive attorney you can count on. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can guide you through this difficult time.
Menacing Under Colorado Law
Under Colorado law, menacing is defined as “knowingly placing or attempting to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.” This can happen through threats, physical action, or any behavior that would cause a person to fear for their safety. It’s important to note that the perceived threat must be immediate and significant – not just a vague or distant possibility.
Menacing ranges from verbal threats to gestures and doesn’t necessarily require physical contact. The key element is the intention to instill fear and the perception of imminent harm.
What is the Difference Between Misdemeanor Menacing and Felony Menacing?
In Colorado, menacing can be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. The distinction lies primarily in the involvement of a “deadly weapon.”
- Misdemeanor menacing: Occurs when a person knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury through threats or intimidation. The key element here is that no deadly weapon is involved.
- Felony menacing: Involves the same actions as a misdemeanor but with one critical difference – the use of a deadly weapon. This means that, if you are accused of menacing another person while holding, or simply implying that you have a deadly weapon, your charges could escalate to felony menacing.
It’s important to note that the law broadly defines “deadly weapon.” It includes guns and knives, but also any object used or intended to be used in such a manner as to cause death or severe injury. If used threateningly, this could consist of items not typically considered weapons, like a golf club or even a garden tool.
Consequences of a Felony Menacing Conviction
A conviction for felony menacing carries severe consequences. If convicted, you could face up to three years in prison, fines up to $100,000, mandatory anger management classes, and probation. Additionally, this conviction will be permanently etched on your criminal record – an unwelcome reminder that can impact your future.
A felony menacing conviction can strain relationships with family and friends, damage your reputation within the community, and inflict emotional distress that lasts long after the legal proceedings have ended.
But remember – being charged with felony menacing does not mean you will be convicted. With an experienced attorney by your side, you can fight the charges and work towards getting the best possible outcome for your case.
Common Defenses Against Felony Menacing Charges
An experienced criminal defense attorney can analyze every aspect of your case and determine the best course of action moving forward. Here are some common defense strategies used to fight felony menacing charges.
Lack of Intent or Understanding of the Menacing Action
One of the key elements in a felony menacing charge is the intent behind the defendant’s actions. For a conviction, it’s not enough to merely establish that the action occurred. The prosecution must prove that a person deliberately intended to cause fear of imminent serious bodily injury in another person. It could weaken the prosecution’s case if it were proved that you did not intend to menace or were unaware that your actions could be perceived as menacing.
Understanding the motivations of the accused at the time of the alleged menacing action is crucial. It could considerably undermine the prosecution’s argument if evidence or arguments suggested you did not realize that your actions might be interpreted as threatening.
Self-Defense or Defense of Others
Colorado law recognizes the right to protect oneself or others from harm. If you were acting in self-defense or defending someone else from a perceived threat at the time of the alleged menacing, this could be a possible defense.
To build a defense on these grounds, your attorney would need to present convincing evidence of your belief that the immediacy of the threat was reasonable, given the circumstances.
Asserting That No Deadly Weapon Was Involved
The difference between misdemeanor and felony menacing hinges on the involvement of a deadly weapon. If your lawyer can prove that no deadly weapon was used or implied during the incident, your charges could potentially be reduced. When no weapons are involved, the prosecutor must find evidence of “a person representing verbally” that they were armed with a deadly weapon.
Exaggeration of Events or Circumstances by the Alleged Victim
Sometimes, individuals may exaggerate or misinterpret events due to fear, anger, or personal bias. If your attorney can prove that the alleged victim exaggerated their account or misinterpreted your actions, it could call their credibility into question and weaken the prosecution’s case.
Questions Regarding the Credibility of Witnesses or Evidence
A prosecutor’s case is frequently built upon the foundation of witness testimony and physical evidence. These elements are crucial in painting a picture of the events that transpired, aiming to sway the jury or judge in favor of a conviction. Witness testimony, while important, is also susceptible to errors, inconsistencies, and potential biases. By challenging the accuracy or credibility of a witness’s account, it may be possible to identify discrepancies that could cast doubt on their reliability.
Additionally, how evidence is collected and presented is just as important. Improper handling can compromise the integrity of evidence, rendering it less credible or even inadmissible in Colorado courts.
Mistaken Identity or False Accusation
A person may be wrongly accused due to mistaken identity or false accusations. Providing an alibi, challenging identification procedures, or exposing ulterior motives behind false accusations could lead to the dismissal of charges.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
When facing felony menacing charges, time is of the essence. Every moment counts for building a strong defense. Christian A. Schwaner is a committed lawyer who can provide you with the legal support you need during this difficult time.
Don’t let fear dictate your actions. Let us fight for you and work towards achieving the best possible outcome for your case.
What Constitutes a “Deadly Weapon”?
A “deadly weapon” is defined broadly in Colorado statutes. It includes any firearm, knife, or other weapon, device, instrument, material, or substance capable of producing death or serious bodily injury. It’s important to note that even objects not typically considered weapons can be classified as deadly weapons if used or intended to be used in a manner that could cause death or injuries.
Will I Go to Jail for a Felony Menacing Conviction?
A felony menacing conviction carries severe consequences, including the possibility of prison time. If found guilty, you could face a prison sentence of up to three years. It’s also important to note that aggravating factors such as domestic violence charges, previous menacing charges, proof of a deadly weapon, or other criminal history can all make the punishment more severe.
What Should I Do After Being Arrested or Charged?
If you’ve been arrested or charged with felony menacing, it’s important to remain calm and cooperate with law enforcement officers. Do not resist arrest or provide any statements without your attorney. Remember – anything you say can be used against you in court.
How Long Does the Legal Process Usually Take for Felony Menacing Cases?
The length of the legal process for felony menacing cases varies based on several factors – including the complexity of the case, court schedules, and whether a plea deal is reached or the case goes to trial. It could take anywhere from several months to over a year for the case to conclude.
Why Do I Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Menacing Charges?
Whether you believe your case is simple or not, a criminal defense law firm is crucial for ensuring all evidence is examined thoroughly, and all legal avenues are explored to present the best possible defense for your case.