New York Penal Law § 120.15 – Menacing in the Third Degree
Menacing in the Third Degree is New York’s version of the common law crime of assault, which prohibits individuals from placing others in fear of death or injury through intimidation or “physical menace.” Menacing in the 3rd Degree is a Class B Misdemeanor.The Elements of Menacing in the Third Degree
Before a judge or jury can convict anyone of Menacing in the Third Degree, the government must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Menacing in the Third Degree are:
- The defendant used intimidation or physical menace to place the alleged victim in fear of death or imminent injury;
- The defendant’s actions were intentional.
All New York Menacing crimes do not require that the defendant physically harmed—or even touched—the victim; the focus is on whether the defendant’s actions caused another person to fear for their life or safety.Examples of Menacing in the Third Degree
Examples of Menacing in the Third Degree include the following:
- A defendant approaches another person with a puffed-up chest and clenched fists but never touches the other person;
- A defendant who hopes to scare his partner throws a vase against the wall within a few feet of his partner; and
- A defendant lunges toward a person as though the defendant intends to tackle them but then backs off.
Menacing in the Third Degree is the least serious of the New York Menacing crimes. Thus, if the defendant engaged in any of the above actions while armed, or if they have a prior Menacing conviction, the offense will likely be graded as Menacing in the First or Second Degree.Related Offenses to NY Penal Law § 120.15
Often, prosecutors bring Menacing in the Third Degree charges along with one or more of the following:
- Menacing in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.14
- Menacing in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.13
- Assault in the Third Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.00
- Assault in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.05
- Assault in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 120.10
- Strangulation in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 121.12
- Strangulation in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 121.13
- Aggravated Family Offense – N.Y. Penal Law § 240.75
- Harassment in the First Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 240.25
- Harassment in the Second Degree – N.Y. Penal Law § 240.26
There are several defenses to Menacing in the Third Degree that can either reduce your sentencing exposure or result in the prosecution withdrawing the case against you or the jury returning a “not guilty” verdict. The most common defenses include the following:
- The alleged victim’s fear of death or injury was unreasonable;
- You did not intend to cause the victim fear;
- You had the alleged victim’s consent, for example, in a mutual fight; or
- You acted in self-defense or in defense of another person.
Menacing in the Third Degree is a Class B misdemeanor. In New York, a Class B misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500.Discuss Your Menacing Charges with an Experienced New York Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’ve been charged with Menacing in the Third Degree, assault, or a similar crime, the dedicated defense attorneys at Tilem & Associates, P.C. are here to help. With over 25 years of hands-on experience successfully defending our clients from all types of serious allegations, we know what it takes to reach the best possible result in your case. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.