Criminal Endangerment in Arizona
Facing criminal charges will leave you feeling confused and uncertain about what to do next. This is especially true for charges that sound a bit ambiguous. If you’re not aware of what the charges could entail, you may end up underestimating their seriousness.
Endangerment charges certainly sound a bit vague but they will lead to criminal proceedings. Here’s everything you need to know about the crime of endangerment in Arizona.
What is Endangerment?
The act of putting another person in danger recklessly is classified as endangerment. There is a substantial risk of injuries or death stemming from your actions.
Endangerment is different from assault because it is not perceived as a deliberate attempt to cause harm to another person. Even if you are not physically responsible for injuring another person, however, you can still face endangerment charges.
Endangerment is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1201. It can occur whenever a person is operating a vehicle in a reckless way or if parental negligence puts a child in serious danger. The involvement of the defendant and the seriousness of the injuries resulting from their actions (or the lack of such) will be determining for the sanctions. Endangerment could lead to both misdemeanor and felony charges. It will be a felony if there are additional aggravating circumstances.
Arizona Endangerment Penalties
In most cases, endangerment will be a Class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona. It will carry a maximum prison sentence of six months and a fine of up to 2,500 dollars.
If the actions of a defendant put somebody in substantial risk of imminent death, they will face Class 6 felony charges. A first-time offender is going to get a maximum prison sentence of 12 months. For repeat offenders, the sentence could be increased to two years.
In the case of child endangerment, especially if aggravating factors are present, the perpetrator will face felony charges.
If a person made a mistake or they were simply negligent, child endangerment will lead to misdemeanor charges. Felony charges are usually the result of a high degree of risk, intentionally putting a child in a dangerous situation or engaging in behaviors that are deemed as presumed risk by law. Consuming alcohol or using illegal drugs before getting in a car with a minor passenger are both presumed as risk behaviors that will endanger a child.
Endangerment Defense Strategies
As you can see, circumstances will have a profound impact on how an endangerment case is going to be handled. There is no one-size-fits-all defense scenario. An Arizona criminal defense attorney will have to examine the specifics of the case and the severity of the circumstances to pinpoint a defense that could work.
A lawyer will first examine the evidence to determine if substantial risk actually existed and if it really resulted from the actions of the defendant. Pointing a gun at someone, for example, puts them in serious danger. If you know that the gun does not work or there are no bullets, endangerment is not going to be plausible. You may face other charges for such behavior but the consequences aren’t going to be as severe as in the case of putting somebody’s life in danger.
A criminal defense attorney could also challenge the evidence or the manner in which it was collected. Violations of the defendant’s constitutional rights could lead to the dismissal of some evidence. Mistaken identity and the lack of credibility in the case of witness testimonies could also enable a criminal defense attorney to get the charges totally dismissed or the minimize the penalties their client faces. Criminal endangerment in Arizona is often accompanied by a charged for DUI.