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Home > Criminal Defense > Menacing Defense

New York Menacing Defense Lawyer

Menacing is not a crime that many people have heard about or consider often. Menacing is, however, an extremely common criminal charge in New York, and it can carry harsh penalties. Menacing involves threatening someone and putting them in fear of injury or death; it’s essentially criminalized threats. There are multiple degrees of menacing, depending upon the nature of the conduct, the nature of the defendant, and the nature of the alleged victim.

If you have been arrested for menacing, you should not take the charges lightly. Serious consequences can result from a menacing conviction. Call an experienced New York menacing defense lawyer at Dupée & Monroe to help you put together your strongest defense and mitigate your charges or have them dropped entirely.

What is Menacing in New York?

There are three degrees of menacing under New York law, as well as a separate, special charge for Menacing a Police Officer. A defendant is guilty of the base crime of Menacing in the Third Degree when “by physical menace, he or she places or attempts to place another in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury, or physical injury.” Menacing does not require actual physical assault; it requires only the threat of force, by way of “physical menace,” intended to place someone in fear of injury or death.

A defendant is guilty of Menacing in the Second Degree when they commit the crime of menacing by displaying a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon such as a gun or knife. A defendant may also be charged with second-degree menacing if they repeatedly menace the same person or if they menace a person in violation of an existing restraining order.

A defendant is guilty of Menacing in the First Degree when they commit second-degree menacing, and they already have a prior conviction for second-degree menacing or menacing a police officer from the preceding ten years.

A defendant is guilty of Menacing a Police or Peace Officer when they commit menacing against a police or peace officer by displaying a deadly weapon, including knives, guns, and other firearms, while the officer is acting in the course of their official duties. The defendant must have known or reasonably should have known the victim was a police or peace officer at the time.

Penalties for Menacing in New York

Menacing may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, with a wide range of penalties, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the degree of menacing. Under the New York Penal Code, the penalties for menacing are as follows:

  • Menacing in the Third Degree is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail.
  • Menacing in the Second Degree is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.
  • Menacing in the First Degree is a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.
  • Menacing a Police or Peace Officer is a Class D felony, punishable by between 2 ⅓ and seven years in prison if the defendant has a prior felony record, and between one and three years in prison if they have no priors.

Defending Against Menacing Charges

Menacing can be a difficult crime for the prosecution to prove. The defendant’s conduct must have actually caused and been intended to cause the victim to fear physical injury or death. Prosecution often comes down to “he said, she said,” unless there’s video or photographic proof that menacing occurred. As a result, prosecutors are often willing to reduce menacing charges or offer deferred prosecution agreements.

Prosecutors must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction. If you’ve been charged with menacing, a savvy New York criminal defense attorney can help you undermine the prosecution’s case and demonstrate their lack of proof on any given element. Just because you’ve been charged with menacing does not mean you should be found guilty, and we’ll make sure the government is held to its high burden.

Get Help Fighting Your Menacing Charges from Our Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested and charged with criminal menacing under New York state law, contact Dupée & Monroe, P.C., in Goshen. We represent clients charged with menacing and other violent or serious offenses in Orange County and throughout the Hudson Valley.

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