Reckless Endangerment

What is Reckless Endangerment?

According to RCW §9A.36.050, a person is guilty of reckless endangerment if he recklessly engages in conduct not amounting to a drive-by shooting but that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person.

The legal term "reckless" means that the actor was aware of, but consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk.

Penalties for Reckless Endangerment in Washington:

Reckless endangerment is considered as a gross misdemeanor, which RCW §9A.20.021 defines as punishable by up to one year in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.

Reckless Endangerment and DUIs:

Reckless endangerment is a lesser charge than a DUI in Washington. In some cases, a criminal defense attorney may be able to get prosecutors to reduce a DUI charge to a reckless endangerment charge. Unlike a DUI, a reckless endangerment conviction does not carry mandatory jail time, fines or the installment of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. If you are later charged with another DUI, however, the reckless endangerment charge will be considered a prior offense.

Defending a Reckless Endangerment Charge:

There may be a number of ways to defend a reckless endangerment charge. As defined above, a "reckless" act requires that the actor is aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his conduct will place another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm. Therefore, one possible defense may be that you were not aware that your conduct posed such a substantial and unjustifiable risk. Your defense strategy is crucial, and the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney is strongly advised.