In general, reckless endangerment is when a person has intentional and total disregard for safety of people and/or property. Prosecutors do not have to prove that a defendant intended to cause the harm that occurred. Instead, prosecutors need to prove the defendant understood their actions posed a great risk to people and/or property. 

How is Reckless Endangerment Defined in Washington State? 

A person is guilty of this crime when they engage in conduct that does not amount to the level of a drive-by shooting. But their conduct is still reckless and creates a substantial risk of serious injury or death. 

What Does “Recklessness” Mean? 

Recklessness means the person: 

  • Intended to commit a specific crime;
  • Knew the conduct would pose risk of harm; and
  • Knew or had reason to know other people may be direct harm’s way.

What Conduct Can Result in a Reckless Endangerment Charge in Washington State? 

A charge of reckless endangerment can be the result of: 

  • Driving under the influence, or DUI, with a child in the motor vehicle
  • Operating a motor vehicle at an unsafe speed in a roadway construction zone
  • Reckless endangerment of emergency workers  

Is it Possible for my DUI to Become a Reckless Endangerment Charge? 

Yes, it is possible for a DUI charge to reduce to a reckless endangerment charge. This means the defendant was originally charged with a DUI, but prosecutors offered to charge the defendant with a lesser charge. To receive the reduced charge, the defendant has to either plead guilty or no contest

What is the Criminal Penalty for Reckless Endangerment? 

In Washington State, reckless endangerment is charged as a gross misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable with up to 364 days in jail and fine of up to $1,000. 

Should I Contact a Criminal Lawyer? 

Yes. It’s important to hire a washington criminal lawyer to help you with your reckless endangerment case.