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Menacing sentence deferred for ex-University of Colorado athlete

Menacing, an action that knowingly instills fear of bodily harm in a victim, may or may not include physical contact. The method used to make someone else afraid can determine the severity of a menacing charge and may lead to charges for additional offenses. For instance, a stalker is likely to experience fewer consequences than someone who brandishes a weapon.

A former football player for the University of Colorado Boulder was arrested last winter at a party. The man allegedly choked a female party guest. Investigators used a Taser to control the ex-athlete when the man attempted to resist arrest and struck and slightly injured a police officer in the process.

Heading toward a November trial, the 20-year-old man was facing two second-degree assault charges – felonies – and several misdemeanors, including underage alcohol possession and charges related to the arrest scuffle. Most of the charges and a bond violation charge were dismissed. The man recently reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a lesser third-degree assault charge and Class 5 felony menacing, the most serious menacing charge.

The former member of the Colorado Buffaloes defensive back was sentenced to a 180-day jail term. He received a conditional deferred sentence for the felony charge. Instead of two years' imprisonment, the defendant will be evaluated and treated for anger and substance abuse issues.

Colorado judges are aware long incarceration is often not a suitable solution for defendants with physical and mental health issues. Medical or psychological treatment is a positive step that may prevent recidivism. Governments also see this as a money saver, since it's often cheaper to treat defendants than it is to imprison them.

Criminal defense attorneys can help guide prosecutors and courts to treatment rather than punishment decisions. The possibility of obtaining an alternate sentence depends upon the charges, circumstances of the case and the negotiating skills of a defendant's lawyer.

Source: Daily Camera, "Former student sentenced to 180 days in jail" Mitchell Byars, Aug. 18, 2014

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