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Road Rage Laws in Colorado (C.R.S. 18-3-206)

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Posted By McAdams Law | July 27 2023 | Firm News

Road rage incidents are increasing in Colorado. The penalties can be severe, so it is critical to familiarize yourself with laws that apply to menacing, why you may be charged, and how to prevent heavy fines and jail time.

If you have been charged with menacing during a road rage incident in Colorado, work with a Greeley criminal defense attorney that understands that a strong defense is imperative to the outcome of your case. Being charged with a crime is life-changing, and McAdams Law Office believes that everyone deserves fair representation under the law.

Understanding Road Rage

Road rage occurs when a driver knowingly expresses violent or combative behavior toward another driver whose perceived actions trigger a response. Examples of road rage may include:

  • Passing a car on the shoulder side of the road
  • Tailgating or driving excessively close to the vehicle in front of you
  • Exiting the automobile to approach another
  • Intentionally cutting someone off
  • Honking aggressively

These behaviors are knowingly directed toward others to make them feel at risk or threatened. Under Colorado Law C.R.S. §18-3-206, the actions of someone directed toward another can lead to menacing charges, classifying as either a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 5 felony, depending on the type of threat.

Menacing Road Rage Misdemeanor vs Felony Charges

The aggressive behaviors previously mentioned and knowingly directed at someone might classify as a class 1 misdemeanor. Penalties can include:

  • Fines of up to $1000
  • Up to 364 days in jail

Menacing becomes a class 5 felony in Colorado when an individual knowingly leads a person to believe they are in bodily danger by using a weapon such as a gun, knife, bludgeon, or object fashioned as a weapon or simulates a weapon in a menacing act. Penalties for felony menacing can include:

  • Fines of $1,000-$100,000
  • One to three years in prison
  • Mandatory parole of two years

Felony charges may also disqualify a person from holding certain professional licenses and can prohibit a person from owning a firearm.

The Dangers of Road Rage on Colorado Roads

Road rage has become so dangerous that psychologists are clamoring to understand why people engage in such acts. Some of the factors that may contribute to a driver exhibiting rage include:

  • Psychological factors: High stress or displaced anger
  • Environmental factors: Congested roads
  • Your sex: Male drivers are more likely to exhibit road rage behaviors
  • People who identify as high-anger drivers: Possess hostile ways of thinking, drive riskier, are quick to get angry, and are impulsive.

Anger behind the wheel can escalate quickly. Drivers have begun to see their automobiles as an extension of themselves, feeling invincible. Accidents are more likely to occur because of road rage.

Colorado is also an open-carry state, so it is legal for Coloradans to have a weapon in their automobile. Road rage incidents become menacing felony charges when a motorist knowingly uses a weapon to place a person in danger or cause fear.

Why a Strong Defense Matters Against Menacing Road Rage Charges

A prosecutor only has to prove that a defendant knowingly committed the actions leading to the charge, regardless of whether the other individual felt afraid. Additionally, a driver’s aggressive actions behind the wheel may have been mistaken as behavior directed at someone when that was not the case.

A knowledgeable Colorado defense attorney will look at the facts of the case and build a strong defense to ensure your rights are protected under the law. A free consultation with the Greeley criminal defense attorney at McAdams Law Office guarantees that you will be treated with respect when you speak with a member of our team. We work tirelessly to represent you knowing that menacing charges can significantly impact your future.

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