What is endangerment?
The crime of endangerment is charged in situations where a person places another in danger by acting recklessly. The statute, in relevant part, states:
A. A person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.
B. Endangerment involving a substantial risk of imminent death is a class 6 felony. In all other cases, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.
When would a person be charged with endangerment?
For example, if Person A, who is extremely intoxicated, causes a car accident by hitting Person B’s car, then Person A might be charged with “endangering” Person B, even if Person B is not injured. If Person B is injured, there may be more serious charges filed against Person A, such as aggravated assault. It is important to remember that with an endangerment charge, no one needs to be actually injured as a result. Rather, the victim only needs to be placed in a position of substantial risk of injury, so the standard to a charge of endangerment is fairly low.
What are the possible consequences if convicted of endangerment?
Part B of the statute outlines the penalties attached to an endangerment charge. The crime of endangerment is only a felony if the victim is placed “in substantial risk of imminent death,” leaving room for argument to reduce the crime to a class 1 misdemeanor. The sentencing ranges are outlined on the latest version of the Arizona sentencing guidelines for the criminal code, which can be found at http://www.supreme.state.az.us/aoc/crimcode.htm. The sentence can be increased or reduced from the presumptive sentencing guidelines based on factors such as the offender’s past criminal history, the facts surrounding the incident, the age of the offender, the offender’s ability to appreciate his wrongfulness, etc.
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