Reckless Endangerment Penalties in PA I Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Recklessly endangering another person (REAP) is a second-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. According to state law, the crime involves recklessly doing something that could, or does, put another person at risk of being seriously injured or killed.

Reckless endangerment is often added to other criminal charges, which makes complex situations even worse. You need an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney to help you avoid the harsh consequences of a conviction. Learn more about Pennsylvania REAP charges, their penalties, and how a defense lawyer can help.

Pittsburgh Reckless Endangerment Lawyer

Worgul, Sarna, & Ness, P.C. have decades of combined experience representing those accused of reckless endangerment and other charges in the Pittsburgh area. We’re here to help guide you through a criminal REAP case and fight for the best outcome possible.

Contact our Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free, no-obligation consult today.

Pennsylvania REAP Charges

Title 18, Section 2705 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes defines reckless endangerment as “recklessly engaging in conduct which places or may place another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.”

Reckless” in this context means ignoring the dangers of an action before doing it, ultimately behaving much more carelessly than the average person would under the same circumstances (18 Pa. Stat. § 302).

Serious bodily injury” refers to an injury that is either life-threatening or that causes serious and long-lasting disfigurement, loss, or impairment to a body part (18 Pa. Stat. § 2602).

REAP charges suggest that you were (or reasonably should have been) aware that your actions carried significant risks, yet you acted anyway. As a result of that misconduct, someone else was (or reasonably could have been) seriously injured or killed – even if you didn’t intend to cause harm.

Examples of Recklessly Endangering Another Person

Numerous actions may constitute reckless endangerment of another person in Pennsylvania, with common examples including:

  • Firing or pointing a gun indiscriminately
  • Failing to disclose a positive HIV status to a sexual partner
  • Allowing a child to play with hazardous objects or substances
  • Leaving a young child unsupervised
  • Mishandling fireworks or other explosives
  • Not securing a dangerous pet properly
  • Ignoring safety protocols on a job site
  • Throwing rocks, glass, or other objects at passing vehicles

These and other behaviors do not need to cause actual harm to be a REAP offense. Even if your actions could’ve caused someone else’s death or serious injury, you could be charged with reckless endangerment of another person.

What Are the Penalties for Reckless Endangerment in PA?

In Pennsylvania, recklessly endangering another person is a misdemeanor of the second degree. The sentence for this kind of offense involves:

  • One to two years in prison
  • Up to $5,000 in fines

In addition, you may be required to pay restitution to anyone who sustained personal injuries due to your misconduct (18 Pa. Stat. § 1106).

Other Consequences of a REAP Conviction

A reckless endangerment conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. You may continue to face collateral consequences due to your criminal record, like limited job opportunities, changes in your citizenship or immigration status, the loss of your professional license, social stigmatization, and more. It is imperative that you hire a defense attorney to help you minimize the impacts of your charges.

Defending Against Reckless Endangerment Charges

If you’ve been arrested for reckless endangerment of another person, you should obtain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. A defense attorney can protect your rights throughout the Pennsylvania criminal process, from initial investigation to trial, and help you build the most robust and effective defense possible to fight your charges.

Recklessly endangering another person is often stacked on top of other criminal charges. If you’re facing multiple charges, your situation becomes even more pressing. You will need a lawyer who will remain focused on your case and have the skill to craft an approach that considers both the big picture of your situation and every minor detail that may be at play.

What Do Prosecutors Need to Prove in a REAP Case?

Knowing what the prosecution must do to convict you of recklessly endangering another person is essential. Anticipating how the other side will approach your case can help your defense better strategize on undermining their arguments.

To prove you committed REAP, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  • Your actions were reckless;
  • Those actions placed another person in danger;
  • The danger was significant enough that serious bodily injury or death could occur.

If the prosecutor cannot back up these elements, the judge may dismiss your REAP case entirely due to a lack of evidence. Even if there is sufficient evidence against you, the prosecution must still prove your reckless endangerment charges beyond reasonable doubt. This means they need to fully convince the jury that you committed the crime – so if the jury has any uncertainty, their verdict should be not guilty.

What Can a Defense Lawyer Do to Help Me?

There are many ways to defend yourself against reckless endangerment of another person. However, not every defense method will be viable or appropriate for your situation. This is why having a knowledgeable REAP defense attorney is critical. Their experience handling similar cases and insight into Pennsylvania laws will allow them to find the best strategy for you.

Common defenses against reckless endangerment charges include:

  • Your actions did not place someone else in danger of serious physical injury or death
  • Any injuries caused do not constitute “serious bodily injury”
  • You were wrongfully accused
  • Your actions were accidental
  • You were acting out of self-defense
  • There is a lack of evidence against you

Even if the circumstances of your case seem grim, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor about reducing your charges to a lesser offense and the lowest sentence possible. That way, you can get back to your life sooner.

Contact a Pittsburgh Reckless Endangerment Attorney Today

Being charged with recklessly endangering another person can be scary. If convicted, your criminal record can lead to serious consequences. It is crucial that you secure the help of a Pennsylvania REAP defense attorney. At Worgul, Sarna, & Ness, P.C., our reckless endangerment lawyers have decades of experience handling these cases, and we will fight for you as we have for countless other clients.

Contact a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer at Worgul, Sarna, & Ness, P.C. by calling (412) 281-2146. Our dedicated and knowledgeable legal team offers free initial consultations. We’ll discuss your reckless endangerment charges and how we can help.