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Endangerment is an Arizona crime that criminalizes reckless conduct that puts others in danger of death or serious injury. Unlike many other crimes, the prosecution does not need to present proof that a specific person was placed in danger; it’s enough to show that you created a situation that could have resulted in another’s injury or death. At the Law Office of James E. Novak, our Phoenix endangerment attorney has over two decades of experience representing clients facing these serious charges. We can help ensure that your rights are protected and that your case ends in the best result possible.

What is the Crime of Endangerment in Arizona?

Under Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1201, endangerment is defined as “recklessly endangering another person: in such a way that there is a “substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.” However, the definition of endangerment doesn’t exactly describe what type of conduct can give rise to criminal liability. Largely, this job is left to judges and juries.

What Constitutes Recklessly Endangering Another Person?

Prosecutors bring endangerment charges very frequently, usually in addition to other crimes. The following are examples of situations that could give result in you being arrested for endangerment.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Driving under the influence is dangerous and, depending on the situation, a DUI arrest may also lead to endangerment charges. For example, prosecutors often argue that driving under the influence with a passenger in the car or while on a busy road creates a substantial risk of injury or death.

Misconduct Involving Weapons

Misconduct involving weapons is a law prohibiting a broad range of conduct involving guns and other deadly weapons. Phoenix prosecutors frequently charge endangerment in addition to weapons misconduct, for example, in a situation where someone recklessly handles a firearm or leaves a loaded gun in an area that is accessible to children.

Assault Crimes

Assault is defined as intentionally causing or attempting to cause another person to experience physical injury or put them in fear of injury. Endangerment overlaps with assault in many cases, and prosecutors love to tack on endangerment charges because it gives them a way to secure a conviction even if the jury doesn’t find they proved the elements of assault. This is because the prosecution doesn’t need to prove a defendant intended to hurt anyone to establish the elements of endangerment.

What Is the Punishment for Endangerment in Arizona?

Endangerment is often graded as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum term of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. However, if your conduct created a substantial risk of imminent death, the crime becomes a Class 6 felony, which is much more serious. Class 6 felony offenses carry a presumptive sentence of one year in prison, but may result in a much longer sentence, depending on your conviction history and whether the prosecution proves any aggravating factors. However, in some situations, an experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorney may be able to convince the court that felony endangerment should be reduced to misdemeanor endangerment.

Are You Facing Endangerment Charges?

If you have been charged with endangerment, either on its own or along with other serious crimes, the Law Office of James E. Novak is here to help. At our Phoenix criminal defense law firm, we are dedicated to each of our clients—not just their cases. We understand the stress that comes along with a pending criminal matter, and will not rest until we’ve done everything possible to ensure your arrest has as little impact on your future as possible. To learn more about what we can do to help you beat your endangerment case, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Law Office of James E. Novak at 480-413-1499. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.