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NY Penal Law § 120.15: Menacing in the third degree

Menacing is a crime that involves doing something that puts another person in fear of immediate physical injury or death. In other words, instead of actually causing someone physical harm, you threaten to do so. There are four menacing offenses in the New York Penal Code. The least serious is menacing in the third degree. According to New York Penal Code § 120.15 you will face a charge of menacing in the third degree if you do anything that puts another person in reasonable fear of physical injury or death. It is a class B misdemeanor.


Two young men are in a parking lot on the Fourth of July drinking beer. As the evening progresses the two start to bicker. The bickering escalates into arguing. One man approaches the other with clenched fists and spews several threats about beating him to death. However, the man who uttered the threats does not actually touch the other man. The threatening man could be prosecuted for menacing in the third degree. The fact that he threatened the other man and at the same time approached him in a threatening manner is enough for the other man to believe that his physical well-being was in immediate danger.

Related Offenses
  1. Menacing in the first degree: New York Penal Code § 120.13
  2. Menacing in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 120.15
  3. Menacing a police officer or a peace officer: New York Penal Code § 120.18

A defense to the crime of menacing in the third degree is that there was not a reasonable threat of immediate physical injury or death. If the victim is particularly sensitive and is easily frightened he or she may feel threatened, but that feeling may not be reasonable.


Because menacing in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor if you are convicted you could be sent to jail for up to 3 months, and you may be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500. It is also possible that in lieu of jail the court may order you to serve a probation term of 1 year.

New York Penal Code § 120.15: Menacing in the third degree

A person is guilty of menacing in the third degree when, by physical menace, he or she intentionally places or attempts to place another person in fear of death, imminent serious physical injury or physical injury.

The Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help

You may be inclined to think that being arrested for a misdemeanor offense such as menacing in the third degree is not serious. However, the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction can have a significant affect on your future. You may end up spending a year in jail-- away from your family and friends. Once you return you will have to face life with having a criminal record. However, there are defenses to a charge of menacing in the second degree that may cause the charge to be dropped or reduced. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with misdemeanors and felonies such as assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, menacing, reckless endangerment, stalking, rape, and child endangerment. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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