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What is menacing and what are its penalties in New York?

When the word "assault" is mentioned in New York, people will have a general idea of what it entails. Other terms, however, might be confusing when they are said and heard. This is especially concerning when there are accusations of a legal violation and the person who is being charged is unsure of what it was that might have sparked the investigation and the arrest. Menacing is one such allegation. Those who are confronted with charges of menacing should be aware of what it means and what the potential penalties are. This is critical to a defense.

Menacing is when a person causes others to feel fear. This can occur in almost any situation. There are three degrees of menacing: first, second and third-degree. With third-degree menacing, the person will have intentionally caused another person to feel fear that they will have physical injury or death inflicted upon them. This is a class B misdemeanor and will result in as much as three-months incarceration.

Second-degree menacing occurs when a person puts another in reasonable fear that there will be injury or death by showing a deadly instrument or weapon; follows or engages in conduct on a repeated basis and it puts the other person in fear of death or injury; or commits third-degree menacing after a protective order or a court order prohibiting it has been issued. The charge is a class A misdemeanor and will result in up to one year in prison if there is a conviction.

First-degree menacing is when there is an act of second-degree menacing and the person who committed it was convicted of second-degree menacing or menaced a peace officer or a police officer in the previous 10 years. First-degree menacing will be a class E felony with a conviction leading to up to four years incarcerated.

Given the harsh penalties that can accompany a conviction for menacing and the criteria for which there can be an arrest, it is imperative to have legal assistance to deal with the charges. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding or the other party was just as much at fault for the incident that precipitated the confrontation. Having a law firm that is experienced with assault, battery, menacing and other violent crimes is one of the most essential steps toward a positive resolution with reduced charges or an outright acquittal. Before making a mistake in the case, calling for legal advice is key.

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