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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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What is Reckless Endangerment in New York

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: July 27, 2023)

Last Updated on: 27th July 2023, 06:33 pm

Here is a 2000 word article explaining what reckless endangerment is in New York:

Understanding Reckless Endangerment Charges in New York

Facing criminal accusations is scary under any circumstance. But allegations of reckless endangerment seem especially hard to comprehend. What exactly does it mean under New York law to “recklessly endanger” someone?

While confusing, these charges are quite serious. New York Penal Law 120.20 and 120.25 make reckless endangerment a misdemeanor or felony with steep penalties. So it’s important to understand what constitutes an offense.

Read on for a plain English explanation of reckless endangerment in New York. With insight into the legal standards, defense strategies and potential penalties, you can make informed choices if facing prosecution. Let’s break down what these complex charges really mean.

Under Penal Law 120.20 and 120.25, a person commits reckless endangerment by engaging in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.

Breaking it down:

– “Reckless” means aware that serious harm is a likely result, but ignoring the risk.

– “Substantial risk” means real, not just theoretical, odds of injury.

– “Serious physical injury” means things like death, disfigurement, loss of limb or organ function.

So reckless endangerment involves conscious disregard of probable grave harm. Pointing a loaded gun at someone or driving 90 mph through a park would qualify. Simply creating possibilities of minor harms does not rise to criminality.

The Two Degrees of Reckless Endangerment

New York law recognizes two degrees of reckless endangerment based on circumstances:

Second Degree (PL 120.20)

This is a Class A misdemeanor involving creating substantial risk of serious injury to a single person.

First Degree (PL 120.25)

This is a Class D felony involving substantial risk of serious injury to multiple people. Higher penalties apply.

So the number of people endangered determines the degree and severity of charges. But even misdemeanor allegations merit vigorous defense.

Examples of Reckless Endangerment in New York

Because the definition is broad, reckless endangerment takes many forms. Some examples of charges New York prosecutors pursue include:

– Discharging firearms into crowded areas

– Hurling heavy objects off overpasses into traffic

– Tampering with food or medication packaging

– Abandoning infants or pets in dangerous environments

– Stockpiling hazardous chemicals in unsecure residential buildings

– Operating boats or cars extremely drunk with passengers

– Administering medication without qualifications or license

Again, the key is conscious disregard of probable serious harms to others. Stupidity alone does not suffice. The accused must comprehend the grave risks.

Defending Against Reckless Endangerment Charges in New York

While certainly serious, allegations of recklessly endangering others often have flaws. Common defenses include:

– Lack of intent or awareness of risk

– No “substantial” or high statistical probability of harm

– No realistic prospect of “serious” injury being likely

– Necessity, like swerving dangerously to avoid a bigger impending collision

– False accusations or mistaken identity

– Improper police conduct violating your rights

– Mental incapacity preventing awareness or intent

An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the available evidence and circumstances to build the strongest case for dismissal.

Penalties Upon Conviction of Reckless Endangerment

Potential maximum penalties under New York law include:

For Second Degree (Class A Misdemeanor):

– Up to 1 year in jail

– Up to $1,000 fine

For First Degree (Class D Felony):

– Up to 7 years in prison

– Up to $5,000 fine

But experienced lawyers can often negotiate reduced charges or sentencing leniency through plea bargaining. Don’t leave your fate to chance. Challenge allegations and fight for justice.

Protect Your Future Against Reckless Endangerment Charges

When facing criminal accusations, arm yourself with knowledge and experienced legal counsel. This combination levels the playing field against prosecutors and helps secure the best resolution.

Now that you understand New York’s reckless endangerment laws more clearly, you can make informed choices if facing allegations. But don’t go it alone – call an attorney right away for guidance.

With an expert by your side, you can avoid missteps, build strong legal defenses and achieve the most favorable outcome possible. So put your faith in a lawyer you trust. Protect your rights and your future.

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