Reckless Endangerment in Washington State

By The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear
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The crime of reckless endangerment is defined by RCW 9A.36.050 and states that a person is guilty of reckless endangerment when he or she recklessly engages in conduct not amounting to drive-by shooting but that creates a substantial risk of death or serious physical injury to another person. The prosecutor is not required to prove that the person intended to cause the harm. Reckless endangerment is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $5000 fine and up to 364 days in jail.

Common Examples of Reckless Endangerment Charges

Someone can be charged with reckless endangerment if a firearm accidentally discharges while they are cleaning it. Residents often share walls in apartments or condominiums, so if a firearm accidentally discharges and goes through another resident's home, they may want to file a police report due to the physical and emotional damage caused.

A person could also be charged with reckless endangerment if he or she was target-shooting in the woods and a bullet ricocheted off the terrain and caused property damage. You could also be charged with this crime if a police officer believes the area you were using to be unsafe for target-shooting.

We often see this crime charged when someone is driving under the influence with passengers in the vehicle. Not only could the driver be charged with DUI, but they could potentially get a separate reckless endangerment charge for each passenger in the vehicle. This can be a stressful situation to be in, so we recommend contacting an attorney right away.

What Can You Do if You're Charged with Reckless Endangerment? 

Regardless of the reason you were charged, we suggest you contact legal counsel as soon as possible. Your attorney will know what steps can be taken to reduce the impact this charge has on your future. In some situations, your attorney may be able to organize a Compromise of a Misdemeanor. This means you could pay the alleged victim the cost of damages to their property to settle the issue civilly, and then your attorney could ask the court to dismiss the case.

Your attorney may also recommend you take classes to mitigate the situation. For example, if your charge concerns a firearm, your attorney might ask you to take a firearm safety course. This shows the prosecutor that you have taken steps to prevent this from happening again. Another thing your attorney may do is try to prove that there was no substantial risk of serious physical injury or death, or that the alleged crime was not committed recklessly.

Contact Us for Help in Your Reckless Endangerment Case

If you have been charged with reckless endangerment, it is not a hopeless situation. There are things you and your attorney can do to try to get through this situation as easily as possible. If you have been arrested or investigated for reckless endangerment, give our office a call at (425) 224-7075. We will listen to you, answer your questions, ease your stress, and resolve your case. Owner and principal attorney Lance Fryrear of The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear has defended the accused in Lynnwood and throughout Washington for the past 20 years. We will be sensitive and careful every step of the way, doing everything we can to help and support you.

Give us a call at (425) 224-7075 to learn more!

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