Assault and Menacing: What’s the Difference in Colorado?

When you hear people talking about assault and menacing in Colorado, they may use the words interchangeably. However, it’s important to note that in the eyes of the law, they are different charges with different criminal penalties.

If you are facing an assault or menacing charge, it is critical to understand and know the difference between the two. That’s why it’s worth reading and learning about what these two crimes have in common and their differences.

Menacing in Colorado

Menacing may sometimes be referred to as making threats in Colorado. That’s because the legal definition of menacing is to put a person in fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury.

Some examples of behaviors under menacing include things such as pointing a gun at someone else, firing a gun at someone but missing, holding a knife or a bat up to someone, or throwing a brick at someone, even if it misses. Under the law, menacing is a form of attempted assault.

Assault in Colorado

Assault in Colorado is doing physical harm or causing bodily injury to another person. The state’s definition of assault differs from many other states, so it’s vital to understand what it means in Colorado.

Examples of actions considered assault under the law include shooting or stabbing someone, hitting them with a bat, or throwing a brick at someone and striking them with it. Assault requires physical contact. Otherwise, it’s simply menacing.

Penalties for Menacing in Colorado

In most cases, menacing is a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year behind bars and fines of as much as $1,000.

It can be a Class 5 felony in cases where a weapon is involved in the crime or if the victim has reason to believe there was a deadly weapon. It is also often charged as a felony if the accused represents themselves as having a dangerous weapon.

If convicted of Class 5 felony menacing, you can face up to three years of incarceration and fines of as much as $100,000.

The Penalties for Assault in Colorado

Assault in Colorado can be first, second, or third-degree, which are different classes of felonies and misdemeanors.

Class 3 Felony

The state defines first-degree assault as deliberately causing severe bodily injury with the use of a weapon that is considered deadly. If convicted, you can face up to 32 years of incarceration and fines of as much as $750,000.

Class 4 Felony

This class of felony is often associated with second-degree assault. Second-degree assault occurs when a severe bodily injury happens to a victim but not with a deadly weapon. If convicted, you can face up to 16 years of incarceration and be liable for up to  $500,000 in fines.

The Penalties for Assault in Colorado

Class 1 Misdemeanor

Third-degree assault occurs when someone causes bodily harm with a deadly weapon done negligently. This crime can result in a jail sentence of up to 180 days with fines of up to $1,000.

Have you been accused of assault or menacing in Colorado? You have the right to defend yourself. Make sure to bring an attorney to your case who can help.


About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2020, and is Lead Counsel rated.