Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Understanding Reckless Endangerment Charges

Under NRS 202.595, reckless endangerment is a broad offense that consists of any act that has the potential to cause harm to another person. A person can be charged with reckless endangerment for something as serious as domestic violence or as common and seemingly minor as jaywalking across a street.

No serious harm or injury needs to occur, but the person must show a disregard for possible consequences in order to be charged with reckless endangerment.

Potential penalties for reckless endangerment include:
  • Up to $2,000 in fines and 364 days in jail for incidents that do not result in bodily harm or death; or
  • Up to $10,000 in fines and 1 to 5 years in prison for incidents that resulted in death or bodily harm.

What to Do if You're Charged with Reckless Endangerment

The first step you should take after being charged with reckless endangerment is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The prosecutor must prove to the court that the action was done in wanton disregard of any potential consequences. Because reckless endangerment usually depends upon the subjective opinions of law enforcement officers and what they believe to be a purposeful action, these charges can often be challenged.

Your attorney can show the court that the arresting officer’s subjective interpretation was flawed. Additionally, your attorney may be able to negotiate a lesser charge for your reckless endangerment case. If no one was harmed by your alleged offense, you may be able to plea down your charges to breaching the peace, which carries much lighter penalties.

Possible Defenses

Some common defenses for reckless endangerment include:
  • Mistaken identity from the officer and witnesses
  • No posed threat actually occurred
  • Witness testimony is flawed
  • Behavior was accidental and the individual did not recognize harm
  • Negligent behavior
Reckless endangerment charges are based upon whether the defendant intentionally disregarded the safety of others. If your lawyer can prove that you acted without understanding the potentially dangerous consequences, then no real disregard of the consequences occurred. The court would be unable to find you guilty of reckless endangerment if you were unaware of the potential danger of your behavior. 

If you have been charged with reckless endangerment in Clark County, act now to begin building your defense. Our experienced Las Vegas criminal lawyers at De Castroverde Law Group can help you fight these serious charges. Contact our proven family-run law firm today!