Reckless Endangerment Maryland

What is reckless endangerment?

Under the Maryland Criminal Code § 3-204, one can commit the misdemeanor offense of reckless endangerment in two ways. The first is creating a “substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another.” The second is the discharge of “a firearm from a motor vehicle in a manner that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another.”

Reckless endangerment arises in situations where someone’s behavior is so irresponsible that it creates a danger to others. This type of behavior usually occurs when one does not intentionally hurt another but behaves carelessly to the extent that it endangers another person.

The standard used by the law enforcement officer for evaluating whether someone’s conduct constitutes reckless endangerment in Maryland is the “reasonable person” standard, which asks whether an ordinary person in the same circumstances would have behaved similarly in a given situation.

According to the Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions, to convict a person of reckless endangerment, the government must prove three elements:

  1. That the defendant engaged in conduct that created a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another;
  2. That a reasonable person would not have engaged in that conduct; and
  3. That the defendant acted recklessly.

Proving a defendant’s intent can be a difficult task for any prosecutor. The law instructs the factfinder (whether judge or jury) to look to the surrounding circumstances to infer intent. These circumstances could include things like the defendant’s statements at the time of the incident or inferring intent from behavior or prior knowledge. An experienced criminal defense attorney like Paolo Gnocchi from Scrofano Law, P.C., knows how to successfully challenge a prosecutor’s intent arguments.


What Behavior Does Law Enforcement Consider Reckless Endangerment MD?

A variety of behaviors may constitute reckless endangerment in MD, such as driving recklessly, carelessly throwing objects into crowds, causing a serious physical injury, or conduct involving shooting with a firearm from a motor vehicle. The government may also charge reckless endangerment along with other violent offenses like assault. In some situations, reckless endangerment may be the lesser charge offered in a plea agreement for a more serious violent offense.

Reckless Endangerment Penalty Maryland

In Montgomery County, Maryland, reckless endangerment is not a felony; it is a misdemeanor that carries a hefty maximum penalty. If you are convicted of reckless endangerment, you could face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Upon arrest, reach out to a criminal defense attorney to immediately begin preparing your strategy.

Call us for a free consultation and learn how Maryland law protects your rights in reckless driving cases. If you have sustained a serious injury, your lawyer can guide you on how to get fair compensation for your losses.

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Reckless Endangerment Examples

Misdemeanor reckless endangerment examples include behavior or conduct that creates a substantial risk to another. Circumstances in which reckless endangerment misdemeanor convictions have been sustained consist of:

  • Bringing a loaded gun without a safety mechanism concealed in a backpack

  • Car accidents from driving carelessly

  • Construction site accidents caused by unsafe practices

  • Failing to offer medical attention to an individual to whom responsibility was owed

  • Failing to secure guns in a house where children live

  • Firing a gun within a vehicle

  • Hospital abuse

  • Throwing heavy objects off the roofs of tall buildings or overpasses

  • Throwing rocks or other objects at moving vehicles

Where a severe physical injury happens as an outcome of negligent conduct, the effects can be even more extreme for the offender. They may result in second-degree assault in Maryland. In situations where the conduct triggered death, you could be charged with involuntary manslaughter or, in some circumstances, second-degree murder. If you have been charged with second-degree assault in Maryland because you were driving with someone while you were under the influence, you may want to consult a DUI lawyer. If your reckless endangerment charge involves a firearm, a gun lawyer with profound knowledge of gun laws in Maryland could tailor a defense strategy for your case’s specific details. In either case, a criminal defense attorney can help you in many ways.

Maryland Reckless Endangerment Laws

Acting in self-defense or the defense of another against a violent crime is an exception to the crime of reckless endangerment. In other words, the law takes a different view of someone’s behavior if they act in defense of themselves or another when faced with being a victim of a crime of violence. This also applies to attempts of violent crime where the actual offense is not completed.

The Maryland Criminal Code provides a number of other exceptions to reckless endangerment. The statute does not apply to the manufacturing of a product or commodity, which means businesses cannot be charged with reckless endangerment in Maryland if their product ultimately hurts the consumer.

Hire an Experienced Attorney for Your Reckless Endangerment Charge

A charge of reckless endangerment usually hinges on factors like intent and the “reasonable person” standard, which are two elements of criminal defense covered heavily in law school that may be confusing to non-lawyers. Representing yourself in a reckless endangerment case is risky. A reckless endangerment conviction on your criminal record could substantially impact your life.

Attorney Paolo Gnocchi has years of experience fighting for clients’ constitutional rights in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and surrounding Maryland counties. If you have been arrested in somewhere like Rockville, Silver Spring, Takoma, Hyattsville, BowieFort Washington, or any cities and counties surrounding the Washington, DC metro area, contact Attorney Paolo Gnocchi today for a complete and honest legal consultation.

Getting arrested and charged with a crime can be incredibly stressful. The anxiety from having a criminal charge hanging over one’s head can be significantly lessened by speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can walk you through what to expect in your case and how to attack the charges. Remember, if you are facing an arrest or criminal charge in Maryland, you are not alone. Contact Attorney Paolo Gnocchi today.

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