Legal terms such as reckless endangerment are often misunderstood by those who are not actively involved in the law or law enforcement. It’s a term that’s rather vast, and it can mean more than one thing. Sometimes this is the precise reason people have no idea they’re even breaking the law. If you’ve been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment in Long Island, you must call a criminal defense attorney. This is not an option if you want to avoid jail time, hefty penalties, and losing your freedom for many years.
What is Reckless Endangerment?
Reckless endangerment in New York is defined as engaging in conduct or an act that creates a substantial risk of injury or even death to someone else. You can see what a broad term it is considering how many things can put a life at risk that don’t seem overwhelmingly dangerous or even obvious. It’s helpful to look at this with an example to back it up.
A mother who allows her toddler to play in the backyard while she’s making dinner might be accused of reckless endangerment if her child is hurt while playing. She didn’t do anything wrong in her own mind, but she wasn’t present with her child with the accident occurred. This means she could be charged with reckless endangerment.
Another common example is a driver who isn’t obeying traffic laws. A driver who runs a red light or speeds and gets caught could be arrested for reckless endangerment because the driver’s actions could cause serious harm or death to other people. His driving might cause an accident, which could injure his passengers or other drivers on the road, and it might even kill those who are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident of this nature.
What is the Punishment for Reckless Endangerment?
There are so many different factors associated with issuing punishment for reckless endangerment. A person might find they go to jail for a year for this crime if they’re convicted and it’s their second time. They might get off with community service and a fine if they’ve never been in trouble with the law and their actions weren’t the worst kind.
If someone has been accused of reckless endangerment in the past, they might find their punishment is more severe. If their act puts a life in danger to the point death occurs, it might be a more serious penalty. In some specific instances, reckless endangerment might become a felony charge with increased penalties depending on the nature of the crime as well as the circumstances surrounding it.
If you’ve been arrested in the past, it might not help your case. There are many instances in which people have been arrested for the same crime in the past and issued a much more serious punishment the second or third time around even if the circumstances were less serious.
What Defense Works Against a Reckless Endangerment Charge?
In many instances, people just don’t know their behavior is reckless endangerment. They might not realize that allowing their kids to play outside unsupervised for two minutes while they run inside to get water for them is endangering their lives. Teens or college students might not realize the severity of daring a friend to jump off the roof of the house and into the water but their friend misses the pool.
Sometimes accidents happen. In hindsight it’s easy to see it was reckless endangerment, but in the moment it seems like no big deal. The prosecuting attorney has no reason to prove you intended to cause any harm to the person they harmed or killed. All the prosecutor has to do is prove that you knew the risks involved in the activity in question.
Hiring a criminal attorney is a good way to help your defense. Attorneys know the law, and they know what can cause a jury or judge to doubt you had any ill intent. They know where to find loopholes in the prosecution’s defense, where to find issues with their evidence and proof, and they know how to at least remove enough certainty from the crime that you are given a sentence that’s much lighter and less serious.
Self-defense in a situation like this almost never works. A skilled attorney can help you find some relief in a case like this, and that’s what you need if you’re looking to find a way to avoid conviction or prove you had nothing to do with what happened. There are many reasons you might be arrested and charged with a crime like this that aren’t entirely valid, and an attorney can help you prove your innocence and move on with your life.