Didn't mean to come off as menacing? Our Colorado criminal defense lawyers are here to help.

In the heat of the moment, when emotions are flaring, arguments can escalate out of control. Whether intentional or not, words and actions can often be misinterpreted as threats.

These tense situations often result in misdemeanor menacing charges, even if no one is injured.

In Colorado, since many citizens legally carry firearms or small knives for personal protection, you could be charged with felony menacing if someone believes you used a weapon in a threatening manner, say, for example, by waving a knife or gun in your car.

What is Menacing in Colorado?

C.R.S. 18-3-206 states:

A person commits the crime of menacing if, by any threat or physical action, he or she knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Menacing is a class 3 misdemeanor, but it is a class 5 felony if committed:

  • By the use of a deadly weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe that the article is a deadly weapon
  • By the person representing verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon.

Intent matters

To be convicted of misdemeanor or felony menacing, the district attorney must prove that you intended to put someone in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.

That means your intent matters.

Colorado case law clearly states, “Actual subjective fear on the part of the victim is not a necessary element,” because “it is only necessary that the defendant be aware that his conduct is practically certain to cause fear.”

Therefore, even if you were just trying to scare a friend and had no intention of causing harm, you risk being charged with menacing.  This broad statute also means that behaviors such as pointing an unloaded gun, a broken beer bottle, or even pretending to have a weapon could be considered a felony. 

Remember, people can arrested for things they didn’t do–sometimes all that matters is whether someone else thought a threat was being made.

Violent Crimes FAQ

What can a menacing charge mean for your future? Learn more on our Violent Crimes FAQs page.

A joke shouldn't land you in jail.

The Law Office of Andres R. Guevara understands the devastating impact of a menacing conviction. Our attorneys are experts at finding the best ways to investigate and win these difficult cases and at protecting your Constitutional rights. Contact the Denver criminal lawyers at our law office right away for a free consultation on your menacing charge.

*Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.