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Arizona Endangerment Charges

Endangerment Attorney in Phoenix, AZ

In Arizona, facing endangerment charges can have serious repercussions on your life and future. Endangerment, as outlined by Arizona law, includes a broad spectrum of behaviors, and its interpretation can vary. Generally, if a prosecutor deems an action as unreasonably risky, they can pursue endangerment charges, even if no one is physically harmed. Because of this, endangerment tends to be one of the most commonly charged crimes in the state.

Because the definition of endangerment can be unclear, having the right criminal defense attorney handling your case can be the deciding factor between a conviction and being found not guilty.

At the Litwak Law Group, we specialize in providing steadfast legal representation to individuals confronting endangerment charges. Our mission is to help you understand these charges and guide you through the legal process, all while vigorously defending your rights and safeguarding your future.

Definition of Endangerment in Arizona

In Arizona, the offense of endangerment, as articulated in ARS § 13-1201, involves recklessly exposing someone to the imminent risk of death or physical injury. This definition covers actions or behaviors that recklessly put others at risk of physical injury or harm and can lead to various types of endangerment charges.

Endangerment is often referred to as “reckless endangerment”. “Recklessness” pertains to a situation where a person is fully aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that their actions could cause harm. This risk must be significant enough that ignoring it goes far beyond what a reasonable person would consider acceptable.

In other words, if a person recklessly engages in conduct that could cause injury to another person then they could be charged with this crime.

Importantly, criminal charges can be initiated under this statute even if no actual physical injury occurs. The critical factor is the presence of a risk of death or injury.

Endangerment can be a significant charge on its own, but it’s also frequently used as a bargaining tool to reduce even more severe charges. Reckless endangerment charges can stand alone or be coupled with other, more grave allegations like violent crimes or vehicular offenses. Nonetheless, when the state brings forth reckless endangerment charges, they often categorize it as a felony.

Types of Endangerment Charges

  • Felony Reckless Endangerment: Involves engaging in reckless conduct that poses a substantial risk of imminent death to another person. This is a class 6 felony charge.
  • Misdemeanor Reckless Endangerment: This charge arises when an individual acts recklessly, creating a risk of physical injury, but the risk is not considered substantial. It’s categorized as a class 1 misdemeanor.
  • Vehicular Endangerment: Typically applies to situations involving dangerous driving that endangers the lives of others on the road, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence. Typically, this charge arises when the prosecutor asserts that the defendant has displayed a remarkable lack of concern for human life, particularly while operating a motor vehicle. It’s common for prosecutors to use this charge strategically, aiming to persuade a defendant to opt for a guilty plea on an Endangerment charge instead of proceeding to trial, especially in cases involving Aggravated DUI allegations.

Penalties for Endangerment in Arizona

Penalties for endangerment can vary based on the specific charges:

  • Felony Reckless Endangerment: 
    • For a class 6 felony, the presiding judge initially evaluates the standard sentence, which begins at 2.25 years in prison. Should there be any factors that mitigate or aggravate the situation, the judge has the discretion to reduce the sentence to a minimum of 1.5 years or extend it to a maximum of 3 years behind bars. If they are to allege a dangerous offense
    • For a class 6 non-dangerous felony, the consequences of are as follows:
      • Probation, which may entail no jail time or a maximum of 12 months in jail.
      • Alternatively, a prison term ranging from 0.33 years to 2 years, with the standard duration being 1 year in prison.
    • Possible penalties may also include victim restitution and fines of up to $150,000.
  • Misdemeanor Reckless Endangerment: Misdemeanor reckless endangerment constitutes a class 1 misdemeanor under Arizona law. If found guilty of misdemeanor reckless endangerment, potential sentences may include:
    • A jail term spanning from 0 days to 6 months.
    • The possibility of probation for a maximum of 3 years.
  • Possible penalties may also include victim restitution and fines of up to $2,500.

Possible Defenses to Endangerment

A skilled criminal defense attorney can employ a variety of defenses tailored to the specific circumstances of your case. These may include:

  • Demonstrating lack of recklessness.
  • Challenging evidence and witness credibility.
  • Establishing that the risk was not substantial.
  • Proving that the conduct was justified or necessary in certain situations.

Why You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Facing these charges in Arizona can be an uphill battle. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side is crucial for several reasons:

  • Knowledge of Arizona Criminal Law: Our team possesses a deep understanding of Arizona’s laws and legal procedures, allowing us to craft effective defense strategies and take on serious criminal cases.
  • Mitigation Strategies: We work diligently to minimize penalties, negotiate plea deals, and explore alternatives to incarceration.
  • Advocacy and Protection: We fiercely advocate for your rights and work to safeguard your future and reputation.

Have an Experienced and Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney Fight for You!

If you or a loved one are facing these charges in Arizona, you will need the guidance and protection of expert legal counsel. Trust the Litwak Law Group to provide the unwavering support and skilled legal representation you need. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and take the first step toward securing your defense. Your rights matter, and we’re here to defend them.