A person can be charged with reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, if they have engaged in a behavior or activity that has foreseeable consequences that are considered dangerous by any reasonable person, and were committed without regard for that potential danger. Even if the danger would not result in death, the charge of recklessly engendering another person (REAP) can still apply for activities that could cause serious injury. Furthermore, a person charged with reckless endangerment can be found guilty even if no one was injured. A conviction can result in fines and prison time, depending on the specifics of the crime.
If you are charged with reckless endangerment, it is important to know what you are up against and what to do.
Reckless Endangerment Charges in Pittsburgh
According to Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 2705:
A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he recklessly engages in conduct which places or may place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.
This charge has a very broad application, including but not limited to these situations and circumstances:
- Traffic violations
- Failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease such as HIV
- Allowing a child to play with guns or other dangerous objects
- Pointing a weapon, such as a gun, as someone or firing a gun indiscriminately
- Failure to adhere to safety rules on a construction site
- Allowing a child to come into contact with, ingest, or be exposed to illegal drugs
- Leaving a child unattended
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Pennsylvania Penalties for Reckless Endangerment
Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor of the second degree in Pennsylvania. This means that it can incur a maximum prison sentence of two years as well as a fine of up to $5,000. However, there is no minimum prison sentence for this charge, so it is possible that a prison sentence may not be issued. This is usually dependent upon the seriousness of the situation, if there were injuries or deaths, and other factors.
When a judge is determining the sentence for a person who has been charged with reckless endangerment, the defendant’s history will be taken into account as well as his or her current charges. The judge will consider the Offense Gravity Score (OGS) of 3, which is what reckless endangerment carries. Also considered will be the Prior Record Score (PRS) of the alleged offender. This scoring system assigns points based on convictions the person has incurred previously.
Reckless Endangerment Defenses in Pittsburgh
Because the charges of reckless endangerment under Pennsylvania law have somewhat blurred lines, it is possible for the alleged offender to argue that his or her actions were more negligent than reckless.
There are other defenses that may be used, depending on the situation. These include:
- The actions were not deliberate, but accidental
- No one was hurt or killed as a result of the actions
- The actions were done in self defense
- There is not sufficient evidence to prove the charges
- The actions did not place anyone in danger of serious bodily injury or death
- The person who is charged is not the person who committed the act – mistaken identity
What to Do If You Are Charged with Reckless Endangerment
Reckless endangerment is a charge that can affect every aspect of your life including your employment, housing, acquire a security clearance, join the military, and getting certain professional licenses. It can even affect your eligibility for financial aid. It is a criminal record and it can follow you for the rest of your life.
A charge of reckless endangerment should be handled by a criminal defense attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable of Pennsylvania laws surrounding the charge. The first step when charged with reckless endangerment is to secure good legal counsel to represent you when you go to court.
If you are facing charges of reckless endangerment, you probably have a lot of questions. At DRK Attorneys, we have the answers. We provide legal defense for clients in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. If you have been charged with reckless endangerment or any other crime, call us. Your initial consultation is free. Don’t leave your life to chance, the criminal legal system is very complex. You need a professional on your side who can fight for you using the strongest defense possible. Contact us today.