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Menacing Makes You More Than Just a Menace

On October 11, a SWAT team call-out resulted from a fight between a 40-year-old woman and her live-in boyfriend. When the boyfriend wanted to get back into the house, the woman threatened him with a gun. After being unable to talk her into surrendering, police used tear gas to flush the woman out of the house. She was charged with aggravated menacing.

Menacing is just another way of threatening, which is why most menacing offenses are misdemeanors. If you were to act upon the threat, then you would be charged with assault, which is the harmful act itself. There are three kinds of menacing under Ohio law: simple menacing, aggravated menacing and menacing by stalking.

Simple menacing: causing someone to believe you intend physical harm

You commit simple menacing if you knowingly cause another person to believe that you intend to cause physical harm to that person or to a member of the person’s immediate family. The threat does not have to involve “serious” physical harm. This is a fourth-degree misdemeanor that can be raised to a first-degree misdemeanor if the victim is an officer or employee of a children’s services agency.

Aggravated menacing: when there is a threat of serious harm

You commit aggravated menacing if you knowingly cause another person to believe that you may cause serious physical harm to that person or to a member of that person’s immediate family. In the incident above, prosecutors charged the woman with aggravated menacing because pointing a gun at her boyfriend was a threat to cause him serious physical harm. Aggravated menacing is a first-degree misdemeanor that can be charged as a felony if the victim is an officer or employee of a children’s services agency.

Menacing by stalking: acts causing fear of serious harm or distress

You commit menacing by stalking if you knowingly acted in a manner that caused another person to believe you would cause physical harm or mental distress on at least two prior occasions. Menacing by stalking is a first-degree misdemeanor that can be charged as a felony if:

  • You have a prior conviction for this offense.
  • You issued a verbal threat.
  • You trespassed.
  • The victim is a minor.
  • You have a history of violent acts toward the victim.

If you have been charged with menacing, contact the Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Yavitch & Palmer Co., LPA

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