Here is what you need to know about endangerment in Arizona. Endangerment, also known as reckless endangerment, refers to any behavior that creates a serious threat of physical harm as a result of negligent, careless, or reckless action. In some ways, these charges can be seen as similar to assault charges.

What is Endangerment?

This broad term has major implications for anyone who is charged with this crime. It refers to any behavior that could cause threat of physical harm. One example includes when a driver operates a vehicle in a manner that reflects “extreme indifference” for the lives of others. It’s important to remember that endangerment does not refer only to driving offenses, however.

In order for endangerment to be charged, no one has to be physically injured as a result of the act. Instead, the victim need only be placed in a position of “substantial risk” or injury. Even if you believe that your actions did not cause actual harm to someone, you could still be looking at endangerment charges because of this low threshold.

Consequences of Conviction

Like many other crimes, it can be difficult to move forward with your life if you are convicted. That’s why it’s vital to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney sooner rather than later. In the Arizona statues related to this charge, the penalties can vary based on the discretion of the judge. The crime can only be classified as a felony if the victim was placed under substantial risk of imminent death. If this applies to your case, there is very little opportunity to plead it down to a misdemeanor.

If the imminent death claim does not apply, this will typically be charged as a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail, accompanied by a $2500 fine. If you are charged with a felony, there is a presumptive sentence of one year in prison with the maximum time being 18 months.

Your sentence can be increased or reduced from the presumptive guidelines based on factors within your case like the offender’s past history, facts related to the incident, the age of the offender, and the offender’s ability to acknowledge his or her wrongfulness will all impact the judge’s final decision.

Since this charge is based on numerous factors and perspectives, the defense strategy should be based on particular circumstances over the facts in the case. With such wide opportunity for interpretation, it’s a smart idea to hire a Mesa criminal defense attorney with experience in the field and confidence in handling your case.

When to Get Help

The best time to get help from a Mesa criminal defense attorney is as soon as you have been charged with endangerment. There are serious consequences not only for your criminal record but also for your reputation now and well into the future, so it’s pertinent that you get legal advice from someone knowledgeable as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can advise you about your rights and help you prepare a defense strategy to combat these charges.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please feel free to contact Mesa Criminal Attorney, Garrett L. Smith at 480-540-6021 log on to, or contact an attorney in your area.