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After You've Been Charged With Reckless Endangerment

Reckless endangerment often comes about through a momentary lapse in judgment, a misunderstanding, an error, or a poor decision. Unfortunately, this charge can result in fines, jail time, and a class 3 misdemeanor on your record that can haunt you for the rest of your life – unless we fight it. At The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., our Colorado Springs criminal defense attorneys believe that people’s lives shouldn’t be changed forever due to a single incident or accident, and we fight vigorously to protect your rights and get the charges reduced or dropped.

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What is the Legal Definition of Reckless Endangerment?

Reckless Endangerment is legally defined in Colorado Statute 18-3-208 C.R.S., which states:

"A person who recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person commits reckless endangerment, which is a class 3 misdemeanor."

To understand this, we need to clarify some terms:

  • Reckless: “Reckless” can be defined as disregard for personal safety or the safety of others, despite a prior understanding of the danger involved in various actions and activities.
  • Serious bodily injury: Serious bodily injuries are those that involve a substantial risk of death, or create protracted and obvious disfigurement, loss or impairment of a body part, or that result in mental disability from the injury.

Recklessness implies a state of mind where you take deliberate and unjustified action that carries substantial risk. Self-defense cannot be compared to recklessness because it implies a very different mindset and circumstances. Several distinct states of mind are considered in a court of law, each of which carries varying degrees of criminal liability, including “intentional,” “knowing,” “reckless,” and “careless.”

For you to be convicted of reckless endangerment, the prosecutor must convince the jury that:

  • You took action that created a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person. Note that the law states serious bodily injury, so an action that carries a risk of minor injuries would not be actionable under this law.
  • You were aware that your conduct created the risk and consciously disregarded that risk.
  • You took action that a reasonable person wouldn’t have done.

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Common Examples of Reckless Endangerment Charges

Some examples of activities that could lead to a reckless endangerment charge include:

  • Driving while intoxicated with a child in the car
  • Leaving a child in a hot car
  • Street racing
  • Hunting or shooting a gun while intoxicated
  • Failing to stop at a red light
  • Driving a vehicle known to have faulty brakes
  • Firing a gun into a crowd (even if nobody is hurt)
  • Intentionally dropping a heavy object off a roof
  • Knowingly omitting required safety measures, placing others at risk of severe bodily harm

Reckless endangerment can be charged on its own, or in combination with another criminal charge.

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Penalties for Reckless Endangerment

Reckless endangerment in Colorado is classified as a class 3 misdemeanor, which is the most severe class of misdemeanor. Class 3 misdemeanors are punishable with:

  • A fine of up to $750
  • Six months in jail
  • Both the fine and imprisonment

Especially when combined with other criminal charges, these penalties can be life-changing and result in losing employment, ruined relationships, and a heavily-tarnished reputation.

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Common Defenses for Reckless Endangerment

If you have been arrested for reckless endangerment, the good news is that there are valid and common defenses against these charges, including:

  • That there was no actual risk of serious bodily injury involved
  • Your conduct was an accident, and not intentional
  • You were unaware that your conduct created a risk, and a reasonable person would also have been unaware in similar circumstances
  • That your arrest was illegal with your rights violated (this defense can cause the evidence used to charge you to be inadmissible in court)

Each case is unique, and our attorneys at The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., will do a thorough case analysis to determine the best defense to get your charges dropped or reduced.

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Let Us Protect Your Rights

With over two decades practicing law in Colorado Springs, attorney Timothy “Tim” Bussey has become one of the most sought-after and prominent trial lawyers in the greater Colorado area. Recognized for his devotion to protecting the rights of his clients, Mr. Bussey has created a legal team that treats clients with compassion – fiercely defending their rights in and out of the courtroom.

Mr. Bussey served in the US Air Force before his career in law and is qualified to represent both civilians and active duty military in court cases. His unique approach to creating an effective defense for his clients routinely results in charges being dropped or reduced. The Bussey Law Firm, P.C., is a low-volume firm, meaning we take only a limited caseload so we can devote the needed time, attention, and resources that our clients need. Contact us today at (719) 475-2555 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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