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Reckless Endangerment

In New York, an individual can violate the reckless endangerment statute when he/she recklessly commits an action or engages in conduct that subjects another person to the risk of serious physical injury, which is defined to include:

  • Loss or serious impairment of any major organ
  • Significant and lasting health impairment
  • Serious disfigurement
  • Impairment that creates risk of death or causes death

Actions must be of a type that deviates grossly from the state of conduct that a reasonable individual would follow in the same situation. Examples of situations that have resulted in reckless endangerment charges include:

  • Leaving a loaded firearm where children can access them
  • Throwing rocks and other objects at moving cars
  • Throwing heavy objects off the roof or out the window of a tall building

Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree is a Class A misdemeanor that can send you to jail for up to one year. You may even be ordered to pay restitution if your actions caused damage. Other complications include a criminal record and restricted access to employment or housing.

Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree is defined as conduct that presents a genuine risk of death to another person, performed under circumstances that demonstrate a depraved indifference to human life. In other words, you acted in a way that could have gotten someone else killed, and your actions indicate you simply don’t care that you did so.

Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree is a Class D felony that can, upon conviction, send you to prison for anywhere from two and one third to seven years. If you have a prior felony on your record, then the minimum sentence can go up to four years.

Although intended to penalize those who willfully act in ways that put others at risk of injury or death, the reckless endangerment statute is comparatively vague. For that reason, prosecution can sometimes be selective and driven more by the emotions involved in a case than any actual evidence of criminal behavior.

If you have been charged with reckless endangerment, then it is important to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have a negative impact on your professional licenses, career opportunities, immigration status, and other important parts of your life, so do not face the future alone. Julie Rendelman is a New York City criminal attorney. Ms. Rendelman offers free consultations and can be reached at 212-951-1232. She can use her 20+ years of insight and experience to try to minimize the impact of a reckless endangerment charge on your life.

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