Menacing is the name of a criminal offense in many US states. The wording and degrees of the offense vary from state to state. It often consists of displaying a weapon to a person with the intention of threatening them with bodily harm from said weapon, or of criminally threatening another, or otherwise putting them in fear of physical harm. Depending on state, degrees of offense range from a misdemeanor for first time offenders, to low to mid level felonies for offenders with a prior menacing charge. The tangentially related crime of "Menacing By Stalking" was introduced as a new charge in some states following the popularization of laws specifically targeting stalking behavior, in which a perpetrator adopts a long-term pattern of actions designed to frighten and harass a victim while still adhering to the letter of existing harassment laws.
The definition of the criminal offense of Menacing varies by state.
- (1) A person commits the crime of menacing if by word or conduct the person intentionally attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.
- (2) Menacing is a Class A misdemeanor
In Ohio, the laws on Menacing read as follows:
- 2903.22 Menacing.
- (A) No person shall knowingly cause another to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person's unborn, or a member of the other person's immediate family.
- 2903.21 Aggravated menacing.
- (A) No person shall knowingly cause another to believe that the offender will cause serious physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person's unborn, or a member of the other person's immediate family.
- 2903.211 Menacing by stalking.
- (A) (1) No person by engaging in a pattern of conduct shall knowingly cause another person to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or cause mental distress to the other person.
- (2) No person, through the use of any electronic method of remotely transferring information, including, but not limited to, any computer, computer network, computer program, or computer system, shall post a message with purpose to urge or incite another to commit a violation of division (A)(1) of this section.
- (3) No person, with a sexual motivation, shall violate division (A)(1) or (2) of this section.
- US Legal, Inc. law dictionary. <http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/menacing/>.
- State of Colorado Penal Code Menacing Statute <http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/sess1998/sbills98/sb096.htm>
- State of New York Penal Code Menacing Statute <http://www.courts.state.ny.us/cji/2-PenalLaw/120/120-14(1).pdf>
- Louisville Courier-Journal. Metro Crime Data Center: Menacing. <http://datacenter.courier-journal.com/community/crime/type/menacing/3>