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Reckless Endangerment (§120.25)

Defense for Reckless Endangerment Charges in New York City

RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT are those acts which endanger human life and wherein the perpetrator is considered to have done so “without regard”. The use of the word “reckless” in context with a criminal charge is like upping the ante in poker—reckless driving, reckless endangerment, et al.  “Reckless” is considered to be those actions that were committed without thought of consequence or outcomes.  Sometime an offense that would not normally be categorized as “reckless”, speeding for example, will be qualified as reckless endangerment if the individual driving causes property damage or damage to another human being.  The use of this word when charging an individual with a crime can turn what would have been a misdemeanor into a felony .

In New York law, endangerment is made up of several types of criminal activity which involves conduct that is reckless or wanton. Reckless endangerment is an action likely to result in serious bodily harm, or death, to another individual.

Besides reckless endangerment, the law specifies two other types:

  1. Child endangerment. A child is placed in a possibly harmful situation either through neglect or by choice (misconduct).
  2. Public endangerment. A criminal act prosecutable in court and typically applies to crimes that put the public in danger.

Endangerment can run from misdemeanor to a felony. The New York Penal Code allows for reckless endangerment in the second degree that moves to first degree or injuries to persons and/or damage to property. It is important to remember damage or injury does not have to happen to be charged with reckless endangerment; just that there was the potential for damage or injury.

Types of Reckless Endangerment

The first type of reckless endangerment in New York is a Class A misdemeanor. The statue concerning reckless endangerment is vague and lends itself to selective prosecutions that are built more on the emotional foundation connected with tragic cases instead of any criminal act. With an experienced criminal defense attorney from Bukh Law Firm working for you, you will obtain the best possible results regarding your case.

Reckless Endangerment in New York

Misdemeanor Reckless Endangerment

In New York, a reckless endangerment in the second degree may be charged when an individual engages in conduct that creates a significant risk of severe injury to another individual. “Serious injury” is defined by the statutes to include:

  • Loss or long-term impairment of any bodily organ, or
  • Long-term health impairment, or
  • Long-term serious disfigurement, or
  • Impairment of an individual’s physical condition that either causes death or creates a significant risk of death

Because of the consequences of a reckless endangerment conviction, make sure to contact Bukh Law Firm immediately. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be assigned to your case early, and you can be assured of the best reasonable outcome.

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New York Reckless Endangerment Penalties: Fines, Prison Sentence

A conviction of reckless endangerment means incarceration, fines, restitution, probation or some combination. The maximum sentence is 7 years in prison. The precise length of time to serve would depend on prior criminal history if an injury resulted from your actions, the severity of the injury and whether or not you show remorse.

The magistrate may also order payment of a fine and restitution. For reckless endangerment, the fine can be up to $5000. Compensation is paid to replace personal expenses that resulted from the crime. If you are convicted of reckless endangerment at a felony level, the maximum amount of restitution is $15000.


The judge may substitute all, or part of, your sentence with probation for up to five years. While serving probation, you will be subjected to many rules meant to ensure that you will not re-offend. If you break any of the guidelines given to you by the judge, you will be in violation and a judge may revoke your probation and send you to prison.

Community Service

The judge may also require you to perform community service as part of your sentence. Community service on a reckless endangerment charge can be as much as 500 hours.

Consequences of Reckless Endangerment Conviction

Conviction of reckless endangerment will show up on your criminal record and will impact your life. Future employment, as well as college admissions, can be affected and you will lose many otherwise excellent professional opportunities.

Finding an Attorney

If you are accused of reckless endangerment, contact Bukh Law Firm immediately.

The attorneys with Bukh Law Firm are experienced criminal defense attorneys who understand how to aggressively fight the charges and will position you for the best possible outcome for your case.

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