Chester County Reckless Endangerment Lawyer
Pennsylvania Reckless Endangerment
If you have been charged with reckless endangerment, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These are very serious charges, and require serious representation. You could be charged with reckless endangerment when your actions place another person in danger of death or serious injury. Because Pennsylvania’s reckless endangerment laws are fairly vague, they are usually added onto one or more additional criminal charges. You could potentially be found guilty of reckless endangerment even if you do not actually injure another person. Reckless endangerment is generally charged as a second-degree misdemeanor, and can be applied to any number of actions, including the following:
- Certain traffic violations
- Leaving a young child unattended
- Engaging in sexual conduct with a person after failing to disclose a serious STD, such as human immunodeficiency virus
- Driving while impaired, whether from drugs or alcohol
- Passing your exit on the freeway and backing up on the freeway to take the exit
- Disregarding safety rules on a construction site
- Firing your gun indiscriminately in your yard, even though you have close neighbors
- Letting a young child or an older child play with a dangerous object
- Letting a young or older child play with a chemical substance
- Indiscriminately firing a weapon
- Pointing a weapon at another person
In some cases, the outcome may be more important than your actions—i.e. if you are inebriated and are using a power tool in the vicinity of small children, your actions might be considered reckless if a child is injured, or negligent if nobody is hurt. If you are found with alcohol or illegal drugs in your system at the time you are arrested for reckless endangerment, this could determine how you will be charged. Sometimes the crime of stalking is paired with reckless endangerment; if you are convicted of reckless endangerment and later charged with stalking, you could find yourself charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Reckless endangerment charges might also be filed in conjunction with Homicide by Vehicle, Simple Assault, Child Abuse, Aggravated Assault, or Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
Penalties for a Reckless Endangerment Conviction
The penalties associated with a conviction for reckless endangerment—a second-degree misdemeanor—is up to two years in prison, and a fine as large as $5,000. There are generally additional, long-term consequences for a reckless endangerment conviction. You could lose your current job, or be unable to obtain employment after your conviction. If your reckless conduct endangered another person, you could be subject to a civil suit in addition to your criminal case. When determining your sentence, the judge will take into account the Offense Gravity Score associated with the offense, as well as whether you have a prior criminal history.
What to Do If You Have Been Charged with Reckless Endangerment
If you have been charged with reckless endangerment, there are several things you should think seriously about. First of all, once you are arrested, stay calm, and do your best not to react with anger, no matter how you feel. Perhaps you have been falsely accused, or you believe your actions may have been negligent, but were not reckless. Whatever the situation, if you react with anger, your situation is likely to get worse. Next, do not talk to the police officer—or anyone else—without first speaking to an attorney. You can give your name and address, then stop talking. Don’t answer questions, simply tell the officer politely that you need to speak to an attorney before you answer his or her questions.
Far too many people try to “explain” their actions. Those statements are then taken out of context, and used against them later. Trying to explain your way out of charges never works. Stop talking and call your attorney. Don’t post anything about your charges on social media, and avoid talking about your charges to anyone including friends, family members, neighbors or co-workers. Social media sites can now be subpoenaed and entered into evidence, so posting about your charges on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can seriously damage your case.
As soon as you have been charged with reckless endangerment—or any other criminal offense your best action is to contact an attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices. A reckless endangerment conviction could potentially impact custody agreements, your employment, and even your relationships with family and friends. As soon as you meet with your attorney, make sure to give them all the facts. The only way you can receive a solid defense is if your attorney has all the necessary information, regardless of whether that information might make you look bad. There are no judgments from our attorneys. We understand that good people make mistakes, and our only goal is to help you through these charges.
Potential Defenses to Charges of Reckless Endangerment
While your defense will depend on the circumstances surrounding your charges, there are several defenses which could be applicable in your case, and which your attorney may use on your behalf. Those defenses include:
- There is not sufficient evidence to show you behaved recklessly. Your behavior may have been negligent, but it must rise to the level of reckless in order to be charged under the reckless endangerment statute.
- Your actions were not deliberate, rather they were wholly accidental.
- Your actions did not put any other person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.
- You are actually innocent—you were misidentified by a witness.
- You were acting in self-defense, or in defense of another person.
The key to a reckless endangerment charge is being able to show that your actions were not actually reckless. In order for your actions to be considered reckless, it must be shown that you knew your behavior posed a risk to others, but you engaged in that behavior anyway.
How We Can Help
The Law Offices of Ciccarelli want to help you through this difficult time. We believe you deserve a second chance, and we will work hard to keep you from spending time behind bars. We will zealously represent you, working hard for the best possible outcome. At Ciccarelli Law Offices, success is our mission—we are driven to serve and ready to fight. Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610)-692-8700.