Second Degree Reckless Endangerment

Although merely a misdemeanor, there is nothing light, easy or insignificant about an arrest or conviction for Second Degree Reckless Endangerment pursuant to New York Penal Law 120.20. In fact, because a conviction for PL 120.20 is not an offense that will later be expunged, there is little your criminal lawyer can do for you if you fail to take the proper steps to establish your best and strongest defense as early in the process as possible and you end up taking the wrong actions that lead to a criminal conviction.

The Basics of Second Degree Reckless Endangerment: PL 120.20

Although your New York criminal defense lawyer will be able to dissect the crime of Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree in greater depth than what is set forth in the New York Penal Law, you should understand that it makes no difference whether you are arrested in New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan) or the suburbs (Rockland and Westchester Counties, for example). While certain District Attorney’s Offices may be more harsh or more strict than others, the law does not change. To that end, the law of NY PL 120.20 is as follows:

You are guilty of Second Degree Reckless Endangerment when you recklessly engage in a course of conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.

Defining the Terms and Language of PL 120.20

Even without the assistance of an experienced New York criminal lawyer or Reckless Endangerment attorney, most people who read the PL 120.20 statute will see that it raises many more questions than answers. For example, what is “serious physical injury,” “substantial risk,” and “reckless”?

  • Serious Physical Injury: Such an injury is not merely a bump, bruise or even a fractured or broken finger. Instead, serious physical injury means impairment of a person's physical condition which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes death, or serious and protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

  • Recklessly: Not acting silly or stupidly (whatever those terms mean), you act recklessly when you engaged in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.

  • Substantial Risk: Not merely any or a slight risk, but a significant one. Case law and your counsel can assess the degree of the risk as well as whether the other definitions and elements of the statute have been satisfied.
Penalties and Punishment

Reckless Endangerment is a serious offense. Make no mistake. A conviction for the crime of New York Penal Law 120.20 can land you in jail for as long as one year. Further, a judge could sentence you to three years of probation, community service and restitution (should there be damage as a result of your criminal recklessness). What impact this can have on your financial licenses (FINRA), firearm licenses, medical or legal licenses and even your real estate or teachers certifications is problematic is an unknown factor that must be addressed as early in the process as possible.

Don’t take your accusation or arrest for Reckless Endangerment lightly. Protect yourself both in and outside the court of law. Let the criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors put their advocacy, experience and knowledge to use. Start your best defense today.

Call us at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today to discuss your case and possible defenses.

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