Under Maryland law, reckless endangerment has an extremely broad definition that includes a variety of different actions. If you’re facing a charge of reckless endangerment, you may be confused about the definition of the crime or the severity of the consequences you could face. An experienced attorney can help. Read on to learn more about reckless endangerment laws in Maryland.
Charges Of Reckless Endangerment
Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $5,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. You can be charged with reckless endangerment for causing a substantial risk of bodily harm, death or serious physical injury to someone else, but reckless endangerment laws in Maryland do not provide explicitly detailed descriptions of what those “causes” might be.
For instance, if you recklessly engage in conduct that creates potential harm of a child or child endangerment, risk of harm or risk of serious physical injury including death by way of the following actions might qualify as reckless endangerment:
- Detonation of explosives, including loaded firearms
- Throwing objects
- Inciting violence
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Tampering with heavy machinery, or other potentially dangerous actions creating a substantial risk of injury to another person.
A range of other potentially dangerous actions could also be considered reckless endangerment under current Maryland laws. While reckless endangerment specifically includes the act of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle in a way that risks serious injury or death to another person, peace officers and security guards are exempt from this provision while acting in the line of duty.
Reckless Endangerment And Other Charges
You can be charged with reckless endangerment if your actions do not fit the definitions of other crimes. However, reckless endangerment cannot be included as a lesser “included offense” alongside a more serious crime. In order to be found guilty under reckless endangerment laws in Maryland, you must be specifically charged with it. However, if you are charged with a more serious crime, your criminal defense attorney might suggest negotiating or pleading your case down to a lesser charge of reckless endangerment.
Defenses Against Charges Of Reckless Endangerment
In reckless endangerment cases, many attorneys choose to mount defenses that are very similar to assault charge defenses. Your attorney might argue that your actions were simply a response to someone else’s reckless conduct or violent crime and qualify as self-defense. In this case, the prosecuting attorney would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their client did not commit—or attempt to commit—such a crime.
Another tactic your attorney might use is to compel the prosecuting attorney to produce specific information about the crime with which you are being charged. This information is called a Bill of Particulars, and must include specific details about the alleged crime, such the exact place and time that it occurred. If the prosecuting attorney cannot provide this information, then the charges against you must be dropped and will not be placed on a criminal record..
The attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law are qualified, expert Criminal Law litigators who can assist you with both criminal and civil reckless endangerment cases. If you have been accused under reckless endangerment laws in Maryland, or any other crime, call us at 410-753-4611 and one of our attorneys team will be happy to speak with you about your case. Your initial consultation is free of charge.