Menacing: It Can Be a CO Domestic Violence Offense

If you’ve received a menacing charge in Colorado, you probably have questions. Even if you think the charges against you are unfounded or the result of a simple misunderstanding, it’s vital to have all your questions answered – especially if the charge includes accusations of domestic violence.

A conviction for menacing with a domestic violence enhancement can have an enormous negative impact on your life. Not only can it lead to incarceration and fines, but it can also impact where you can live and any the amount of time you can spend with your family if they’re involved in your charges.

Don’t take chances with your freedom. Learn about menacing and how it intersects with domestic violence in Colorado so you can move forward and build a strong defense against these charges.

Menacing in Colorado: What Is It?

In our state, a menacing charge is criminal. It occurs when someone makes another feel as if they are in danger of bodily harm immediately. Menacing another person means that you are knowingly causing them to fear “imminent bodily injury.”

Menacing is something a person can plan, or it can happen in the heat of the moment. For example, you may think about harming another person and then going to their house. When you get there, you knock on the door and threaten to hurt them. However, menacing can also result from a bad judgment call in the moment, such as getting into an accident and threatening the other driver with harm because you’re upset.

It’s also important to note that menacing can include using a deadly weapon or brandishing one, such as a gun or knife. In those cases, the resulting charges can be more serious.

Intent Plays a Role in Menacing

In Colorado, there are two levels of menacing: misdemeanor menacing and felony menacing. The factors involved in the case will inform which charge you face, but the difference is typically the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime.

Prosecutors see using a weapon as establishing intent. Plus, it speaks to the amount of harm a person intends to do to another.

Intent Plays a Role in Menacing

Essentially, menacing is typically a Class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado, but it can be elevated to a Class 5 felony if a bludgeon, knife, or firearm is involved.

What About Assault in Colorado?

Menacing and assault laws in Colorado are different. To better understand the seriousness of the charges you’re, it’s helpful to learn our assault laws as well.

Additionally, menacing and assault can both get charged in cases where the threats made (menacing) translate into action (assault).

First Degree Assault

First-degree assault is when someone seriously and intentionally hurts another using physical force, usually with a deadly weapon. It’s considered a Class 3 felony in Colorado.

Second Degree Assault

Second-degree assault occurs when someone causes serious bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. It is also when someone threatens to harm or actually does harm to a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical provider. Second-degree assault is usually a Class 4 felony.


Menacing fits in here, between second and third-degree assault. Remember, in the most severe circumstances, it can be charged as a Class 5 felony.

Third Degree Assault

This charged occurs when a person causes bodily injury to another recklessly or knowingly with a deadly weapon. It is typically a Class 1 misdemeanor.

What Weapons Are Considered Deadly in Colorado?

Menacing with a deadly weapon is a serious charge – but what types of weapons are considered deadly? In most cases, if you use or brandish one of these items, it’s considered a deadly weapon:

  • Knives
  • Metal Tools
  • Bottles
  • Guns
  • Baseball Bats

The Penalties for Menacing

The Penalties for Menacing ion Colorado

If convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor, you can go to jail for up to one year and fined up to $1,000. For a Class 5 felony, a three-year prison sentence can be handed down, as well as fines and probation.

How Does Menacing Work in CO Domestic Violence Cases?

Domestic violence in Colorado is a sentence enhancement. So, if you menace someone who is a part of your household or family, it could receive a domestic violence enhancement. That means more severe penalties for you.


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