Reckless endangerment is any act that shows an individual has no regard for human life. Even if no one actually got hurt, when someone acts in a way that puts others in danger this is considered reckless endangerment. Law enforcement takes their job to protect the safety of the public very seriously, and charges of reckless endangerment is a serious crime. If convicted of this crime, the sentence could include significant prison time. There are two different levels of reckless endangerment – first degree and second degree. The difference between the two is whether the actions could result in serious physical injury or actual death. It is important to understand exactly what the court system defines as reckless endangerment.
New York Penal Code 120.25: Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree Broken Down
New York Penal Code 120.25 addresses the crime of reckless endangerment in the first degree. This states a person is “guilty of reckless endangerment in the first degree when, under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in contact which creates a grave risk of death to another person.” A “depraved indifference to human life” means that the person just doesn’t care whether s/he hurts someone or not. This person acts not because they are deliberately trying to hurt someone. They just don’t care if they put other people at risk of death.
New York Penal Code 120.25 in the first degree is a class D felony. Convection of this crime could result in up to 7 years in state prison.
Examples of Reckless Endangerment
One example of reckless endangerment would be a high speed chase. If someone is trying to elude the police by driving at high speeds, that shows a reckless disregard for other people on the road and pedestrians that could be hurt in the process.
Another example would be drive-by shootings. When someone discharges a firearm into a home, another car, or into a group of people, that shows that while they are trying to harm a specific person, they really don’t care if they hit other people in the process.
There are many examples of reckless endangerment such as drag racing, throwing items from an overpass onto the highway, and more.
One defense would be to show that there was never any danger of death to anyone, regardless of what the situation looks like. If no one was ever at grave risk of death, there is no reckless endangerment. Another way a good New York defense attorney could use to reduce the potential sentence is by showing that their client is contrite and takes responsibility for their actions.
A judge has latitude in sentencing in a case of reckless endangerment. An experienced defense attorney will fight to get the charges dismissed or at least reduced. If that isn’t possible, a good defense attorney can greatly affect the sentencing process by showing the judge that their client has good character, is contrite, and takes responsibility for their actions.
The most important thing to do is to contact a good defense attorney as soon as you get charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree. This is a felony that could put you in state prison for years and give you a criminal record for the rest of your life. A good defense attorney will fight to get the charges dismissed or reduced. If that isn’t possible, they will fight to get a sentence that will not ruin their client’s life.