“Reckless endangerment” is a vague term, and it’s meant to be. It’s a charge that’s meant to be a catch-all for any behavior that prosecutors consider dangerous. There can be no victim and no actual harm is done to anyone, and you could still wind up with jail time and a fine if you’re convicted of reckless endangerment in Pennsylvania.
Michael J. Skinner is an experienced West Chester reckless endangerment lawyer who will take on the charges. Michael J. Skinner will diligently research your case and fight to have the charges reduced or dismissed. If you face charges of reckless endangerment in Chester County, or in Lancaster, Montgomery or Delaware County, call the Skinner Law Firm at (610) 436-1410 or send an online message today to set up a free consultation to discuss your charges.
Title 18, Section 2705 of Pennsylvania Statutes defines reckless endangerment as a person recklessly, meaning without caring about consequences, doing any act that puts any other person in danger of death or serious injury. It’s under the assault section of Pennsylvania code. Assault, however, involves actually injuring a person or intentionally making that person fear he or she will be injured.
Reckless endangerment involves no injury and no intent to cause injury. All prosecutors have to prove is that there was a possibility of serious injury or death and that you knew that your actions could have caused injury or death — even if you didn’t know a specific person was in a position to be injured.
A common cause of reckless endangerment arrests, especially around holidays, is shooting handguns into the air or generally emptying a firearm without actually hitting anyone. Pennsylvania prosecutors have also successfully prosecuted people who have had sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV, and not disclosed it to their sex partners with reckless endangerment. Reckless endangerment charges are only limited by a prosecutor’s imagination. If the prosecutor can discern how your behavior could have hurt someone, he or she can charge you with reckless endangerment.
Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to two years, and a fine up to $5,000. You’ll also be stuck with a reckless endangerment conviction on your record, which may show up in background search and give the impression that you are a careless person who makes poor decisions with dangerous consequences to potential employers, landlords, school officials and creditors.
You don’t have to face those penalties. Prosecutors must prove every element their case beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning that, other than far-fetched or improbable scenarios, their version of the facts is absolutely true. In reckless endangerment cases, that means prosecutors must prove there was an actual possibility of danger due to your actions, which can be difficult. Your West Chester violent offenses attorney can look at every detail and discover the flaws in the prosecution’s case.
You can fight reckless endangerment charges, and Michael J. Skinner, a West Chester violent crime lawyer, can help. He’ll search for the holes in the prosecution’s case and seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Call him today at (610) 436-1410 or send an online message to set up a free consultation to go over the details of your case.