Not only can a person recklessly endanger other people, but he or she can also recklessly endanger their property. That property can be personal property or real estate. If a person knowingly puts property that does not belong to them at the risk of damage or loss, he or she can be found guilty of reckless endangerment of property.
There are actually three levels of reckless endangerment in New York. Second and third degree charges are misdemeanors. When charged in the first degree, it is a felony. New York Penal Law section 145.25 controls reckless endangerment of property. It states that “A person is guilty of reckless endangerment of property when he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of damage to the property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred and fifty dollars.” The intent of a person who is charged with this crime is irrelevant, and no damage to property is required in order to be charged accordingly.
As per New York Penal Law section 15.05, “A person acts recklessly with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard thereof constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
Reckless Endangerment Example
Here is an example of reckless endangerment of property. A friend lets you take his 1969 396 Chevrolet Chevelle for a spin. Once you are on the road, you want to see how quick the car is, so you head to the highway. You take the car to 100 mph in a 55 mph zone, and you pass several cars doing so. Indeed you could be found guilty of speeding and reckless driving, but you could also be found guilty of reckless endangerment of property. If you were traveling 60 mph in that 55 mph zone, the worst that might happen might be that the cop who pulled you over just to admire the car and maybe give you a warning.
Reckless endangerment of property is classified as a class B misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to three months in jail and a year of probation along with a fine not to exceed $500. The terms of any probation can be very strict. If a defendant is sentenced to jail, any probation would run concurrently with the jail sentence. Community service and restitution might also be ordered.
Once a person is convicted of reckless endangerment, he or she then carries a criminal record. The conviction could remain with him or her for life. It could interfere with job, educational and housing opportunities. Should a job require licensing, a person could be barred from consideration for the position. A person who is convicted of the offense might also be denied an opportunity for federally funded housing.
If you are arrested for reckless endangerment of property, protect your rights. Do not give any type of a statement or confession. Exercise your right to remain silent along with your right to an attorney. If you do give any type of a statement or confession, it will only be used against you by the prosecution. At your earliest possible opportunity, contact our offices to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation with a New York criminal defense attorney. We promise to listen to your side of the story and answer your questions. After that, we will advise you of your complete range of legal options. Being charged with a class B misdemeanor is nothing to laugh about, especially if you have no criminal history. We might be able to help you avoid one.