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Reckless endangerment is such a broadly defined law that gives law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to file charges under various circumstances.
At a glance, reckless endangerment is if another person is subjected to a substantial risk of imminent death or serious injury due to the recklessness of the defendant. While this sounds like a similar charge to assault, the two big differences between the two are that endangerment is not seen as deliberately attempting to cause harm but can be charged without actually causing any physical injury.
Endangerment charges are often used by prosecutors when they are unable to charge with more serious offenses due to the lack of injury.
For example, if a defendant is involved in a vehicular or DUI incident (most common for endangerment charges) that resulted in an accident without injury, the prosecution would not be able to file more serious, dangerous charges such as aggravated assault, and must push for endangerment on the grounds that serious injury or death could have occurred.
Some of the most common acts that lead to reckless endangerment charges include:
If the prosecution alleges that your actions caused a considerable risk for imminent death, the charges would be a class 6 felony. This would include a first offense sentence of up to 12 months in prison, and if deemed an “aggravated” charge, the sentence would be up to two years. If there was no risk of imminent death, the charge then becomes a class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months and up to $2,500 in fines.
The difficult aspect of defending reckless endangerment charges is that often times, the prosecutors try to convince the jury that a particular action or accident created an extremely high risk of death or injury based on the police officer’s narrative, training, and experience.
Trying to convict on the uncertainty of an unrealized outcome becomes an emotional court strategy and entirely depends on the story that prosecutors can weave to paint your actions as extremely dangerous and threatening to others. One effective defense strategy would be proving that the defendant unknowingly committed the action(s) without knowledge of potential harm.
If you are facing reckless endangerment charges, you have come to the right place. A highly-experienced criminal defense lawyer, who has seen both sides of these cases, is your strongest strategy to having the charges dismissed or reduced.
At Sonoran Law Group, you’ll find criminal defense lawyers who have exceptional track records of success defending reckless endangerment charges. Challenging the testimony of the prosecutor’s witness and effectively presenting your side of the case is the best strategy to take with so much at stake. Get started with your no-cost consultation, today.