Colorado Judge Charged with Felony Menacing

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedNov 29, 2021
2 minute read

In October 2021 the chief judge that presided over Colorado’s Fifth Judicial District was charged with felony menacing. Prosecutors allege Mark Thompson threatened someone with an AR-15-style rifle during July 2021.

Thompson is set to appear in court on December 17, 2021. If convicted, Thompson could receive prison time, fines, and at least a temporary restriction from the courtroom bench.

Talk to a Colorado Menacing Criminal Defense Attorney

Felony menacing is a serious crime. If you face a felony menacing charge, you should talk with an attorney. Our Criminal Defense Team offers a case assessment in which they will learn the facts of your case, and how we can defend you. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment today.

felony menacing

What is Felony Menacing? 

Colorado law defines menacing as knowingly placing or attempting to place someone in fear of imminent serious bodily injury using threats or physical action. It’s a misdemeanor crime, but it becomes a felony – a class 5 felony – when a deadly weapon is involved in the incident. C.R.S. 18-3-206

If you’re charged with felony menacing, the prosecutor will focus on your intent, as menacing is a general intent crime. That means the prosecutor only needs to prove that you meant to carry out the criminal act – not that you intended the end result.

“A person acts “knowingly” or “willfully” … when he is aware that his conduct is of such nature or that such circumstance exists.” C.R.S. 18-1-501(6)

Also, you can be charged with felony menacing even if the victim does not see or even know that you have a weapon. There are numerous Colorado cases in which felony menacing convictions have been upheld even though the victim never saw a deadly weapon. For instance, in People v. Zeig, 841 P.2d 342, the Colorado Court of Appeals found that the defendant’s felony menacing conviction was proper even though the victims were unaware of what kind of weapon the defendant used.

Learn More about Menacing in our legal Guide. 

What are the Penalties for Felony Menacing? 

Prison, Probation & Fines

Individuals convicted of felony menacing face one to three years in prison with two years of parole. The fines for this crime range from $1,000 to $100,000.

People convicted of misdemeanor menacing can go to jail for up to six months be ordered to pay fines up to $750.

Potential Job Loss 

You could also lose your job if you’re convicted of felony menacing, at least temporarily. Colorado law mandates that people convicted of a felony are to be “disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the laws of this state.” That includes judgeships and lawyers. However, once any sentencing requirements, including probation, are completed those rights can be restored.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re charged with felony menacing schedule some time to speak with one of our criminal defense attorneys. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment with us.

Editor’s Note: Colorado state legislators voted to change how menacing is defined and classified. Beginning March 1, 2022, menacing becomes a class 1 misdemeanor, which is the most serious misdemeanor. Felony menacing remains a class 5 felony, but how it is defined changes. Under the amended language, felony menacing is committed “by the use of a firearm, knife, bludgeon, simulated firearm, knife, or bludgeon.”

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