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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Defending New York Menacing Charges

By Spodek Law Group | February 13, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2023)

Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 04:35 pm

Menacing in the Third Degree: What You Need to Know


As you go about your daily life, you never know when you might encounter a situation that could result in you being charged with a crime. One such crime is menacing in the third degree, which can be defined as doing something that puts another person in fear of immediate physical injury or death. It is essential to understand the legalities surrounding this offense, so you can avoid any trouble with the law.

Understanding Menacing in the Third Degree

Menacing in the third degree is the least serious of the four menacing offenses under the New York Penal Code. According to New York Penal Code § 120.15, you can be charged with menacing in the third degree if you intentionally place or attempt to place another person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury, or physical injury through physical menace.

Physical menace can include any action that causes someone to feel threatened, such as approaching someone with clenched fists or making verbal threats.

For instance, let’s say two young men are arguing in a parking lot on the Fourth of July after drinking beer. The argument gets heated, and one of them approaches the other with clenched fists and spews several threats about beating him to death. Although he doesn’t lay a hand on the other man, he could still be charged with menacing in the third degree.

That’s because the fact that he threatened the other man and at the same time approached him in a threatening manner is enough for the other man to believe that his physical well-being was in immediate danger.

It’s also important to know that there are other menacing offenses under the New York Penal Code. Menacing in the first degree, which is the most severe of the four offenses, involves threatening someone with a deadly weapon or causing physical injury. Menacing a police officer or a peace officer is also a separate offense. These offenses carry stiffer penalties than menacing in the third degree.

Possible Defenses

If you are charged with menacing in the third degree, it’s essential to understand the possible defenses. One such defense is that there was no reasonable threat of immediate physical injury or death. For example, if the victim is particularly sensitive and is easily frightened, he or she may feel threatened, but that feeling may not be reasonable.

Possible Penalties

If you are convicted of menacing in the third degree, you could face up to three months in jail, along with a fine of up to $500. The court may also order you to serve a probation term of one year instead of jail time

Understanding Menacing in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law 120.15

If you find yourself in a situation where you intentionally or even just attempt to place someone in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury, or physical injury by physical menace, you could be charged with Menacing in the Third Degree under New York Penal Law 120.15. It may seem like a lesser offense, but it still carries a lot of weight and could result in a criminal record and even jail time. The Spodek Law Group and our attorney Todd Spodek understand the severity of these charges and can provide you with legal assistance to ensure that your rights are protected.

What Constitutes Physical Menace?

Physical menace goes beyond just words. There must be a physical component and act associated with it. This could include kicking or swinging at someone or making any other threatening physical gesture. You don’t need to have a weapon, but any physical behavior that would put someone in fear of harm could be considered physical menace.

Scope of Fear

The scope of fear under New York Penal Law 120.15 is quite broad, ranging from death to physical injury. Even the lowest threshold of physical injury is enough to warrant a charge. The injury need not be severe; it could be something as small as a bruise, welt, or cut lip that causes substantial pain. Even the fear of such an injury could result in a charge of Menacing in the Third Degree.

Domestic Violence and Menacing in the Third Degree

If you are accused of Menacing in the Third Degree, and the accuser is a family member or intimate partner, your arrest will be classified as domestic violence. This could result in mandatory arrest and questioning by the District Attorney’s Office. You have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, so it’s best to exercise those rights and seek legal counsel from the Spodek Law Group and our attorney Todd Spodek.

Don’t risk your future and reputation by trying to navigate the legal system alone. Let the Spodek Law Group and our attorney Todd Spodek provide you with the legal assistance you need to protect your rights and ensure that you get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

Protecting Yourself from Orders of Protection in Third Degree Menacing Cases

Being accused of Third Degree Menacing can be a life-changing event. Whether the alleged victim is a family member or a friend, the court will likely issue an order of protection, also known as a restraining order, against you at your arraignment. This order of protection is a legal document that prohibits you from having any contact with the victim. The order may even prevent you from living in the same building or working at the same facility. The consequences of violating the order of protection can be severe, including additional criminal charges.

Knowing Your Rights in Third Degree Menacing Cases

If you have been accused of Third Degree Menacing, it is crucial to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney at your arraignment. You have the right to ask the court to allow “incidental contact,” which may be necessary if you live or work in the same building as the alleged victim. If the alleged victim is a family member, your attorney may also request that your order of protection be subject to Family Court.

Resources for Those Accused of Third Degree Menacing

At Spodek Law Group, our criminal defense attorneys have the knowledge, advocacy, and experience needed to protect your rights and defend you against accusations of Third Degree Menacing. We are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best possible outcome for your case.

In addition to our legal representation, we also recommend familiarizing yourself with the laws related to Third Degree Menacing. There are many helpful resources available to those facing these charges, such as the New York Crimes of Harassment & Fear section on CrottySaland.com, as well as the NewYorkCriminalLawyerBlog.com, which is searchable by New York Penal Law statute code and title.

Don’t Let an Accusation Destroy Your Future

An accusation of Third Degree Menacing can be embarrassing, career debilitating, and even permanent. If you or a loved one is facing these charges, it is essential to take action and educate yourself on the law. Contact Spodek Law Group at 212-312-7129 or online today to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. Let us serve as the staunch advocate you need to protect your future

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