Respected Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney Fighting on Behalf of Clients Facing Allegations of Violent Crimes

Menacing is a type of violent crime in Alabama that prohibits individuals from intentionally or knowingly putting another person in fear of imminent bodily harm. Unlike assault, there is no requirement that the prosecution prove any physical contact occurred. In this way, menacing is more akin to the Common Law offense of assault, while Alabama’s assault statute is more like the Common Law offense of battery.

At the Stoves Law Firm, P.C., Attorney Jason Stoves is a veteran criminal defense lawyer with extensive experience defending the rights of clients charged with violent crimes, including menacing. We take great pride in our ability to develop compelling defenses that are both customized to your specific situation and designed to ensure that your case ends in the best possible result.

What Is the Crime of Menacing in Alabama?

Under Alabama Code § 13A-6-23, menacing is defined as intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury. To be convicted of menacing in Alabama, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Your actions put the alleged victim in fear of imminent bodily harm, meaning the harm was about to happen and seemed likely to happen.
  2. Your actions were such that they would cause fear in a reasonable person.
  3. You acted knowingly or intentionally, meaning you understood the potential impact of your actions on the alleged victim.

The following are a few examples of situations where prosecutors may file menacing charges:

  • Threatening someone with a weapon, such as a gun or knife, in a manner that makes them fear they will be hurt.
  • Approaching someone aggressively while making threats of physical harm, where the victim believes they will be attacked.

What Is the Punishment for a Menacing Conviction in Alabama?

In Alabama, menacing is classified as a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 and up to six months in jail. However, probation or other court-ordered programs may also be imposed based on the circumstances of the case and your criminal record. Although menacing is a misdemeanor, judges tend to hand down harsh penalties to those convicted of this crime.

Defenses to Menacing

There are several defenses to menacing charges. While the applicable defenses vary based on the specifics of your case, some of the most common menacing defenses include:

Lack of Intent: Proving you lacked the intent to threaten the alleged victim can be a strong defense. For example, your Birmingham menacing attorney may argue that you did not intend to cause fear or were not aware that your actions could be perceived as threatening.

Self-Defense: You can claim that your actions were in self-defense or defense of others. If you can demonstrate that you had a reasonable belief that you were in imminent danger and needed to act to protect yourself or someone else, it could justify your actions that may otherwise be considered criminal.

Misidentification: Crime victims sometimes get it wrong when it comes to identifying an alleged perpetrator. A misidentification defense can involve alibis, witness testimony, or other evidence to show that you were not present at the scene or could not have committed the alleged act.

Lack of Imminence: To be convicted of menacing, the prosecution must show that the alleged victim feared imminent serious physical injury. Thus, you can defend against these charges by arguing that the threat was not immediate.

First Amendment Rights: In some cases, you might argue that your actions or words were protected under the First Amendment right to free speech, especially if the conduct did not rise to the level of a true threat or imminent harm.

Consent: If the alleged victim consented to engage in the behavior or situation that led to the menacing charge, this might be used as a defense, especially in situations where the actions were part of a mutual fight.

Are You Facing Menacing Charges in Birmingham?

If you were recently charged with menacing, it is important to ensure you’re represented by a criminal defense lawyer who will take your case as seriously as you do. At the Stoves Law Firm, P.C., our Birmingham menacing lawyer has more than 25 years of hands-on experience creating compelling defenses designed to reduce or eliminate our clients’ exposure. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, during which we will answer your questions, explain what the prosecution would need to prove to convict you, and discuss how we can help defend your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Stoves Law Firm, P.C. at (205) 823-7233, or you can connect with us through our secure online contact form

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