We Provide Comprehensive Representation for Those Accused of Reckless Endangerment in Pennsylvania
Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor charge that is usually accompanied by assault-related charges. Although it is a misdemeanor offense, a reckless endangerment conviction can still have a significant impact on a defendant’s sentence.
What Qualifies as Reckless Endangerment?
In Pennsylvania, a person has committed reckless endangerment if he or she has recklessly engaged in conduct that places or could place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury. Unlike other criminal offenses, the District Attorney does not have to establish that someone actually suffered an injury in order to convict a defendant. Instead, the D.A. is only required to prove that the defendant recklessly created a risk that put someone else in danger of suffering an injury. Recklessly endangering another person is a second degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to two years in prison and a $2,000 fine.
What Is Considered Recklessness?
An action is only reckless if a person acted with a conscious disregard of a known risk. This means that a person can be convicted of reckless endangerment even if he or she did not intend to injure anyone. Merely knowing that someone else’s injury or death was a potential result of the conduct, but unreasonably disregarding that risk is considered recklessness.
Reckless disregard charges can be tacked onto a variety of other criminal offenses. For instance, a reckless endangerment charge is often included when a person is accused of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The charge can also be applied if a parent leaves a child unattended or allows him or her to play with dangerous objects or substances. Pointing or indiscriminately firing a weapon is also often charged as reckless endangerment.
The defenses that a defendant can raise will depend on his or her specific circumstances.
However, there are a few defenses that are available to defendants who have been charged with reckless endangerment, including that:
- The D.A. lacks sufficient evidence;
- The defendant was acting in self-defense or in defense of another person;
- The alleged victim was in no danger of suffering a serious bodily injury or death;
- The complainant’s testimony lacks credibility; and
- Mistaken identity.