Menacing is defined in the New York Penal Code as a crime that involves conduct or words that place another individual in fear of immediate bodily harm. Actual physical contact or injury is not required for a person to be charged with menacing. There are three levels of menacing in the New York Penal Code, including menacing in the third degree.
Elements of Menacing in the Third Degree
Menacing in the third degree is the least serious of all three of the basic menacing charges listed in the New York Penal Code. The Code classifies menacing in the third degree as a class B misdemeanor.
Unlike first or second degree menacing, a weapon need not be displayed in order to be charged with this crime. Rather, threatening words and physical action, short of physical contact, can be sufficient to warrant a charge of menacing in the third degree.
Examples of Menacing in the Third Degree
An example of menacing in the third degree is a situation in which a person follows another individual around. This differs from stalking in that menacing does not require recurring instances of a perpetrator following the alleged victim around.
A person subject to a restraining order might face a menacing in the third degree charge if he or she violates that court decree. In other words, in addition to being charges with contempt for violating the court order, a person subject to a restraining order may face a charge of menacing in the third degree if he or she follows the person who obtained the retraining order.
Sentence for Menacing in the Third Degree
Because menacing in the third degree is a misdemeanor, the maximum possible sentence upon conviction is one year in the county jail. If a person has no criminal record to speak of, that individual is likely to obtain a sentence of probation if found guilty of menacing in the third degree. Even if a jail sentence is imposed, the term is likely to be less than a year on a conviction for menacing in the third degree. This particularly is the case if a person does not have an extensive criminal history.
The court can also impose a fine in a case involving menacing in the third degree. The maximum fine that can be imposed in this type of case is $1,000.
Defenses for Menacing in the Third Degree
The primary defense to a menacing in the third degree charge is that the complaining witness has not accurately described what occurred. In other words, a skilled, experienced NYC criminal lawyer will argue that the person charged with menacing in the third degree did not engage in any conduct that constitutes threatening behavior pursuant to the terms of the law.
Another defense to a charge of menacing in the third degree is based on what is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations sets a two-year time frame within which this type of misdemeanor charge must be filed. If charges are not brought within that two-year time period, a person can raise the defense that it is too late to prosecute a charge of menacing in the third degree.
An experienced New York criminal defense attorney will schedule an initial consultation to discuss potential defenses in a menacing in the third degree case. In addition, a lawyer will provide answers to any questions about a case and menacing in the third degree charges. As a matter of practice, New York criminal defense lawyers do not charge at attorney fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client in a menacing case.
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