In mid-April, Derry Borough Mayor Kevin Gross was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and harassment. The charges came after the mayor pointed a gun at two boys in a neighborhood park, and prevented two girls that were present from calling their parents. No one was hurt during the incident, but the mayor still faces serious charges.
Of all the charges the mayor is facing, reckless endangerment is the most unclear in Pennsylvania. The state’s statute on this crime is fairly vague, even though it comes with harsh penalties for those convicted.
Reckless Endangerment in Pennsylvania
According to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18, Section 2705, in Pennsylvania, reckless endangerment is the act of placing another person in danger of death or serious injury. This is considered recklessly endangering another person. As such, this crime also goes by the acronym of REAP. As in the current case involving the mayor, the crime is typically charged in addition with other charges.
Some examples of reckless endangerment are:
- Allowing children to play with dangerous objects or chemicals
- Disregarding safety rules on construction sites
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Failing to disclose sexually-transmitted diseases
- Leaving a child unsupervised
- Traffic violations
- Pointing handgun or other weapon at someone else
Penalties for Reckless Endangerment in Pennsylvania
Reckless endangerment is considered a second-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. As such, those convicted face up to two years in prison as well as a fine up to $5,000. When determining a person’s sentence, a judge will consider the Offense Gravity Score (OGS) of three that is associated with REAP. They will also consider the Prior Record Score (PRS) of the accused.
In addition to these harsh penalties, anyone convicted of this crime will have a permanent criminal record. This can interfere with a person’s ability to gain employment, housing, and any other opportunities, including certain scholarships and admission to college or university.
While these consequences are severe, there are defenses available when a person is facing charges of REAP.
Defenses to Reckless Endangerment
Due to the definition of the crime of REAP, those accused often argue that their actions were not reckless as much as they were negligent. While this still carries possible consequences, such as a civil lawsuit, being found negligent will not typically carry jail time for those accused of REAP. For this reason, negligence is often a defense used in cases involving these types of charges.
Other possible defenses include:
- Mistaken identity
- Lack of evidence
- The actions of the defendant did not endanger anyone
- The defendant’s actions were a result of self-defense
- The defendant’s actions were accidental
Facing Charges? Speak to a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
Reckless endangerment charges are very serious. Anyone charged with REAP must speak to a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney that can build them a solid defense.
If you’ve been charged with reckless endangerment, or any other crime, you need an experienced attorney that can help you retain your freedom. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, we will review your case and create a defense to give you the best chance at beating the charges. Don’t try and do this alone. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 so we can begin reviewing your case.