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Intoxication ruled out as criminal defense option for homeowner

A Colorado man was arrested after reacting to what he perceived to be a significant threat at his home. His felony charge for aggravated menacing stems from an encounter with a government worker that apparently involved a firearm, although it was never discharged. The defendant still has ample time to begin his criminal defense preparations, but it is already believed that possible intoxication will not be part of that plan.

The defendant was asleep in his home when he was awakened by a sudden banging on the door. An inspector had arrived unannounced to perform an inspection of the roof and had already placed a ladder outside the home and rang the doorbell before knocking. According to the defendant, it sounded as if someone were violently knocking on the door, and he grabbed his firearm before opening the door.

When the inspector later recounted these events to the police, he claimed that the homeowner had pointed the gun at his chest and then threatened to shoot him. The homeowner denied this claim and said that the firearm remained pointed at the ground the entire time. The former law enforcement employee turned security officer told police that he feared for his safety, as recent home invasions in the area had begun similarly with someone ringing and knocking on the door.

Police eventually charged the homeowner for aggravated menacing on the belief that he knowingly struck fear in the inspector with the threat of imminent violence. It is not clear if the defendant's possible state of intoxication played a role in the decision to charge him, as he admitted to having a drink prior to falling asleep. Homeowners who take similar action against a person inside of their home typically do not face criminal charges because of Colorado's "make my day" law, but this law does not apply outside of the home, such as on front porches. While the investigation and criminal proceedings are still in their early stages, most defendants find it beneficial to begin considering various criminal defense options in a timely manner.

Source: gazette.com, "When is it self-defense, and when is it menacing, Colorado Springs case asks", Kaitlin Durbin, March 12, 2016

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