A Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy spoke with the manager of Verizon Wireless in Littleton who accused a customer of coming into the store, complaining about his device not working properly, calling employees several names and threatening to get his gun and blow the manager's knee caps off. It is unclear at this time whether police have decided to charge this man with any crimes. However, this customer could likely be charged with Menacing, C.R.S. 18-3-306, under Colorado law.
In Colorado jurisdictions including Denver, Arapahoe and Douglas County, Menacing is a class 3 misdemeanor unless a person uses a deadly weapon to menace another person, in which case it is a class 5 felony. A person commits the crime of menacing if, by any threat or physical action, he or she knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. In short, the menacing statute prohibits threatening harm to another person. However, as is true with many laws in Colorado, the line at which First Amendment protected speech becomes criminal is not always clear. Even empty threats can be construed as menacing, essentially punishing a person for their words.
Many crimes in Colorado, including Menacing, Harassment, C.R.S. 18-9-111, and Disorderly Conduct, C.R.S. 18-9-106, can raise complicated issues about your First Amendment right to free speech and expression. At the O'Malley Law Office, we are expert criminal defense attorneys who know how to litigate these complex Constitutional issues. We currently have a First Amendment based case in the Colorado Supreme Court.
If the Adams, Jefferson, or Broomfield County government is trying to punish you for exercising your freedom of speech, we can help. If you are contacted by the police, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us today at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.