Be careful in Weld County, because the Weld County Sheriff may charge you with Felony Menacing, C.R.S. 18-3-206, if you try and defend yourself and your property from trespassers. We recently had a case where a woman was defending herself from a trespasser on her family’s property. After being backed in to a remote place by the trespasser and after multiple warnings, she fired a shot into the ground near the trespasser. She was arrested and charged with Felony Menacing. We eventually persuaded the DA to dismiss the charges.
Also be careful in Adams County, because the Adams County Sheriff may charge you will the same Felony Menacing if you confront trespassers on your property. Here, a man stood his ground when a deputy and social services worker drove past “no trespassing” signs and trespassed on his farm property, without a warrant. He ordered them to leave and they refused. He never pointed the shotgun at them, but did tell them to leave with the shotgun in hand. He was arrested and we eventually won this case at trial.
Both of these cases evidence the tendency of deputies in Colorado to charge felony menacing against anyone using a firearm. Police in cities like Lakewood, Denver and Aurora are no different. Citizens are charged with felony menacing for “Any threat or physical action, which knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury.” What law enforcement forget is that there is a Colorado affirmative defense which says that you can menace someone while in defense of person or property. This affirmative defense essentially says, “yes, I admit doing that, but I have legal permission to do so.” In Jefferson, Arapahoe and Douglas County, this affirmative defense is rooted in the U.S. and Colorado constitutions, and in state statutory law. Yet law enforcement ignore the law.
I think we should remove the immunity law enforcement officers enjoy, when they arrest people wrongfully. It seems that at least a third of the arrests we study are either unnecessary or plain wrong. Police and Sheriff deputies in Broomfiled, Larimer and Denver County need to feel the sting which our clients feel when they have to spend money posting bond and hiring a lawyer unnecessarily.
Our criminal defense law firm knows it is a big deal to take a person and put them in jail when they’ve done nothing wrong. If you have been wrongfully arrested by police or sheriff deputies, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call the experienced criminal defense attorneys at the O’Malley Law Office, P.C. Together, we can protect your future.