Understanding Reckless Endangerment in New York
Many crimes, such as robbery, shoplifting, murder, arson, drug possession, drug trafficking, and stalking are common. Even if a person does not know all the elements of a crime, they have a general idea of what these terms mean. On the other hand, some crimes are misunderstood. One commonly misunderstood offense is “reckless endangerment.” Reckless endangerment is a serious crime in New York, so it is crucial that you understand this crime. Below, we discuss the crime of reckless endangerment in New York.
Defining Reckless Endangerment
Reckless endangerment arises when a person engages in an act that endangers another person. The term “reckless,” which is the key element of the offense of reckless endangerment, indicates a conscious disregard for a substantial and unjustifiable risk. With reckless endangerment, it is not a must that a person intended to cause harm. Merely creating the risk of harm is enough.
Often, when people are charged with reckless endangerment, they face other charges in connection with the same event. For instance, a driver arrested for DUI may also be charged with reckless endangerment if they had a passenger in the car while under the influence. However, it is possible for someone to only be charged with the offense of reckless endangerment.
Types of Reckless Endangerment Charges in New York
In New York, reckless endangerment is categorized into different degrees depending on the specifics of the case. The following are the main categories of the offense of reckless endangerment in New York;
- Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree: This offense is codified in New York Penal Law 120.20. According to the law, this crime occurs when a person acts recklessly and creates a substantial risk of physical injury to another person. The offense of reckless endangerment in the second degree is considered a Class A misdemeanor. Being convicted of this crime can result in up to one year in jail and fines.
- Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree: This crime is codified in New York Penal Law 120.25. You are guilty of this offense if you act recklessly and create a grave risk of death to someone else. The crime of reckless endangerment in the first degree is a Class D felony. Penalties for this crime may include a prison sentence of up to seven years and fines.
Elements Needed To Prove Reckless Endangerment
Just as with any other crime, there are specific elements the prosecution needs to prove before securing a conviction of reckless endangerment. The following are the elements of the crime of reckless endangerment the prosecution is required to prove;
- Reckless conduct, which is not the same as negligent conduct
- Substantial risk of serious harm
- Lack of justification, meaning that the defendant had no valid justification for taking the risk
Possible Defenses To Reckless Endangerment Charges
When facing reckless endangerment charges, seeking legal help right away is crucial. An attorney can protect your constitutional rights. They can help develop a strong defense strategy. The following are some of the possible defenses to reckless endangerment charges;
- Insufficient evidence
- Lack of recklessness
Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with reckless endangerment in New York, contact our skilled NYC criminal defense attorney at Mark I. Cohen, Esq. We can ensure your rights are protected and develop a strong defense strategy.