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Menacing in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law 120.14

Menacing in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law 120.14

Unlike the lesser misdemeanor Menacing crime, New York Penal Law 120.14, Menacing in the Second Degree, is a crime that can easily land you in jail for any between one day and one year. An "A" misdemeanor, like its lesser cousin of Third Degree Menacing, if you are convicted of NY PL 120.14 you will have a criminal record that will not be expunged later in life or disappear over time. It should be very clear that the direct and collateral consequences of a Third Degree Menacing allegation, arrest, trial or conviction are far reaching not just to your liberty, but your reputation and livelihood.

Menacing in the Second Degree: Defining New York Penal Law 120.14

Despite its similarities with NY PL 120.15, Second Degree Menacing is much broader and encompasses many more criminal acts.

You are guilty of NY PL 120.14 when:

  1. You intentionally place or attempt to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by displaying a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument or what appears to be a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or other firearm; or
  2. You repeatedly follow a person or engage in a course of conduct or repeatedly commit acts over a period of time intentionally placing or attempting to place another person in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death; or
  3. You commit the crime of Menacing in the Third Degree in violation of that part of a duly served order of protection, or such order which the defendant has actual knowledge of because he or she was present in court when such order was issued, or an order of protection issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in another state, territorial or tribal jurisdiction, which directed the respondent or defendant to stay away from the person or persons on whose behalf the order was issued.
Menacing in the Second Degree: Further Analysis of the Elements

As you can see, there are many terms or words used in the Third Degree Menacing Statute that may not have the same meaning as to what you use in your everyday life.

Subsection two (2) references "dangerous instrument." Not an actual weapon, a dangerous instrument is something that can be readily used to cause a serious physical injury or death. Further, this section also mentions "physical injury" and "serious physical injury." While the former is defined in greater detail in the Third Degree Menacing section and Third Degree Assault section of this website, serious physical injury is many notches beyond. A serious physical injury is one that can cause death or causes protected health issues and disfigurement.

Other terms and theories are also worth noting. "Reasonable fear" is generally case or fact specific, but whether fear is reasonable is something that your criminal attorney needs to break down. Although an unrealistic example, would it be reasonable to have this fear of physical injury if you threatened another person with a pillow from ten feet away? What about a hammer from one foot?

Menacing in the Second Degree: Orders of Protection

Orders of protection and restraining orders come into play on two fronts in a Third Degree Menacing arrest. First, if there is an order of protection in place in favor of the complainant and you violate that order by physical menace, aka, you commit Menacing in the Third Degree (New York Penal Law 120.15), your crime gets bumped up to New York Penal Law 120.15(3).

Beyond the foundation of the crime, if you commit any Menacing crime in New York and the accusing party is known to you, there will be an order of protection issued by a judge. This order will limit or prevent any contact with the complainant. Whether you live with him or her or know the person tangentially, if you violate the order of the court you will very likely find yourself charged with Criminal Contempt, a crime of equal or greater severity.

Should you need to have the restraining order modified, while it may not be done so completely in court the first time you see a judge, some provision can be made for incidental contact or subjecting the order to a secondary order in Family Court.

Menacing in the Second Degree: Domestic Violence

Simple and to the point, if your case involves a domestic situation, the police or a detective will arrest you and figure out all the facts later. In New York, the NYPD treats all domestic allegations, regardless of their severity, as "must arrest."

Menacing in the Second Degree: Other Potential Crimes

Because of the nature of any arrest for Second Degree Menacing, other crimes are routinely charged on the same complaint. Most of these crimes are not only equal to NY PL 120.14 as far as punishment and sentences, but carry the same debilitating stigma.

Other Resources

The New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan Assistant District Attorneys recognize there is no substitute for knowledge, advocacy and experience. However, the following resource may be helpful:

Protect yourself, your family and your future from a false, exaggerated or out of context allegation of Menacing in the Second Degree. Don't compound your precarious situation by trying to talking yourself out of an arrest with the police. Contact a New York criminal lawyer with the practical and legal knowledge and experience to advocate in your defense. Contact the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law.

Call the New York Criminal lawyers and former New York prosecutors at 212-312-7129 or contact us online today

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