Menacing in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law 120.15

Menacing in the Third Degree, pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.15, is the lower of the two Menacing misdemeanors defined in the New York Penal Law. Still a misdemeanor crime that would subject you both to an arrest and permanent criminal record, NY PL 120.15 is "merely" punishable by 90 days in jail. While you would serve this jail sentence in a county facility (such as Rikers Island or the Westchester County Jail in Valhalla) and not in a State prison, any confinement would certainly be unwelcomed.

Third Degree Menacing: Defining New York Penal Law 120.15

You are guilty of Penal Law 120.15 when by physical menace (a term that is defined further by legal decisions), you intentionally place or even just attempt to place another person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury.

Without defining each element of this crime, it is worth examining a few of them. First, "physical menace" must be more than only words. There needs to be a physical component and act associated with it. You need not have a gun or a knife, but kicking or swinging at another person would satisfy this element. Second, the scope of the fear, ie, death to physical injury, is quite large. Dealing with the lowest threshold, "physical injury," one must only sustain an injury resulting in substantial pain. In the context of PL 120.15, the injury actually need not occur, but only fear that you would cause that person a bruise, welt, cut lip or similar low level injury that causes substantial pain.

Third Degree Menacing: Domestic Violence

Like the other crimes of harassment and fear, if you are accused of Menacing in the Third Degree and your accuser is your child, partner, spouse, etc., your arrest will qualify as "domestic." As such, your arrest will be mandatory. Further, many of the District Attorney's Offices will attempt to take a statement from you in addition to any questioning by the police. This is your notice. What you say can and will be used against you. Consider exercising your right to counsel before making any statement whether it is in person, on the phone or through any other means.

Third Degree Menacing: Orders of Protection

Whether your case qualifies as domestic or the complainant is a friend, courts will issue an order of protection (also called a restraining order) at your arraignment. Generally, these orders of protection will prevent you from having any contact with the complainant. It is critical to discuss with your criminal lawyer at your arraignment whether or not you live in the same apartment or building or work in the same facility. Not only can your criminal defense attorney ask the court to allow "incidental contact," but if the accuser is a family member, your criminal lawyer may also ask to have your order of protection subject to Family Court.

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:

An accusation of Menacing is a crime that is not only potentially permanent and scarring, but embarrassing and career debilitating. Don't let an accusation destroy your future. Educate yourself on the law, contact one of our experienced criminal lawyers and let the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC serve as the staunch advocate you need.

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