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New York Penal Code § 120.25: Reckless endangerment in the first degree

New York Penal Code § 120.25: Reckless endangerment in the first degree

How to Handle Being Charged With Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree

When someone is accused of reckless endangerment, they have acted in a way that illustrates their lack of regard for human life. An individual can be charged with this crime even if their actions did not result in anyone getting hurt. They can be charged because their actions put others in danger. Reckless endangerment is a serious crime.

Reckless Endangerment In The First Degree

In New York, this is a crime that involves a person’s behavior demonstrating a depraved indifference to human life. An individual who has been accused of this crime has created a situation involving a grave risk of death to one or more persons. In this situation, an individual is accused of this crime because the did not care if they hurt someone. Their actions are not intended to deliberately hurt someone. They just do not care if their actions put anyone else at risk for harm or death.


A common example of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree is an individual who engages in a high-speed chase to get away from police. This often involves a person driving at high rates of speed around other vehicles. When this is done, it shows a complete disregard for the possible harm they could cause other drivers as well as any pedestrians who could have gotten hurt during the chase. Another example would be someone who is responsible for a drive-by shooting. This could involve an individual discharging a firearm into a group of people, a home or another vehicle. In this case, a person does not care if they hurt someone in the process. Other examples include throwing items from an overpass onto a highway, drag racing and more.

Class D Felony

Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree is a Class D felony. In New York, the maximum amount of incarceration time for someone found guilty of this is seven years. The actual lengths of an individual’s prison sentence will depend on different factors. This could include an individual taking responsibility for their actions as well as having any prior criminal record and the facts involved with the case. Should someone not have been convicted of a felony during the past 10 years, a judge has the option to sentence them to no time in prison and probation. Should someone charged with this have a conviction for a non-violent crime, a judge must give a minimum sentence of incarceration for up to four years. Should an individual have two prior felony convictions, they will be given a classification of being a persistent felon. In this case, the minimum sentence will be incarceration for up to 25 years, and the maximum will be life in prison.


It is possible for a person charged with Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree to be sentenced to probation. In this case, the terms of probation would be a minimum of five years. The terms of probation will run concurrently with an individual’s prison term. During a person’s time on probation, they are going to be subject to many rules. Should an individual break any of these rules, they will have violated the terms of their probation. In this case, a judge can revoke their probation and send them to prison.

Fines And Restitution

It’s also possible an individual could be sentenced by a judge to pay fines and restitution. This is usually the case if there is a victim involved in the case. In most situations, the maximum restitution amount is $15,000 and a five percent surcharge.

Legal Defense

When someone is facing these charges, an attorney will try and show their client’s actions didn’t put anyone at risk of harm or death. It shouldn’t matter what appears to have happened. Should they prove no person was ever at serious risk for harm or death, then reckless endangerment did not occur. In many situations, it is possible to reduce a client’s potential sentence by showing their client is contrite. They knew what they did is wrong and the client is willing to take full responsibility for their actions.

Being charged with Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree is a serious situation. It will require the help of a knowledgeable attorney. An innocent mistake, when charged with this crime, could result in serious consequences. An attorney will know how to protect an individual’s rights and what will be necessary to provide the best possible outcome.

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