Reckless endangerment is a criminal offense in Maryland that occurs when a person acts with awareness that his or her conduct creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person and consciously disregards that risk. To support a conviction for reckless endangerment, the person must have acted recklessly and not merely carelessly or as result of an accident, mistake, or an honest error of judgment.
What is Reckless Conduct?
Reckless conduct can either be an act or a failure to act. There are two different legal standards that are used to determine whether a person’s conduct falls within the realm of recklessness. One standard is subjective, the other is objective.
The first is a subjective standard: The person must have known or been aware that his or her conduct created a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person and consciously disregarded that risk. Think of the subjective standard as a person’s disregard for the risk involved in his or her behavior while being conscious or aware of that risk.
The second is an objective standard: The person’s conduct must have been a gross deviation from the standard of a reasonable, law-abiding person under the same or similar circumstances. Think of the objective standard as whether the person actually engaged in conduct that created a substantial risk of injury or death.
No Actual Injury is Required
Reckless endangerment is considered an inchoate crime, meaning that it involves potentially harmful conduct that does not necessarily result in the injury to or death of another person. In other words, actual injury to or death of another person is not required to support a conviction. Merely creating the risk of death or serious physical injury to another person, and disregarding that risk, is sufficient.
What is the Maximum Penalty for Reckless Endangerment?
Although reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor criminal offense, it is a charge that should be taken seriously. If convicted, the maximum penalty allowed by law is a fine of up to $5,000.00 and/or a period of incarceration of up to five years. See Md. Code Criminal Law 3-204.
Baltimore County, MD Reckless Endangerment Attorney
Contact our office today for a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with the crime of reckless endangerment. During a free consultation at our Towson, MD office, our principal attorney will discuss the facts of your case, explore possible defense strategies with you, and answer any questions that you may have.
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