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Reckless Endangerment - Colorado's Wild-Card Law

One of the most charged, and unpredictable crimes in our state, is Reckless Endangerment, C.R.S. 18-3-208. I say "wild-card" because you can't always predict when your conduct will result in this charge. With other crimes, if you do something, like stealing or trespassing, you know the risk you are taking. But, not with Reckless Endangerment.

The Denver Definition of Reckless Endangerment

In Denver, you and I will be charged with this crime if we "recklessly engage in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person." Two key words here are "recklessly" and "serious." Recklessly means that "a person disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk;" while serious means injury of a life-threatening or permanent nature, like a broken bone, high risk of death or permanent impairment.

When Reckless Endangerment is Usually Charged in Adams and Jefferson County

The problem with Reckless Endangerment in Colorado is that we are usually not charged unless something happens to someone else. Imagine shooting your bow and arrow in the backyard. You have done it dozens of times before and had no problem. This one time, however, an arrow misses your target, hits a rock, and lands in your neighbor's back yard. Your neighbor is incensed, because his kids play out there. Although no one was outside, he calls the Lakewood Police and you are charged with Reckless Endangerment in the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Here is a second example: you are driving your car in Arapahoe County with a child in the back seat who is six years old. Your kid unlatches his car seat and opens the door. You try and stop the car, but before you do, he falls out at 10 mph. Another driver sees it, and calls the Golden Police. You are charged with Child Abuse and Reckless Endangerment. Read more examples of Reckless Endangerment.

Accidents do Occur and Not all Should be Labeled Criminal

I labeled this the wild-card crime because it can apply to just about any circumstances. The problem is that when you can't predict something happening, I don't think you should be charged criminally. Accidents happen in Aurora and Brighton without people knowing the risk of injury. I suggest that just driving your car down the street creates the risk that someone will be injured.

Call some of the best criminal defense lawyers in the Denver area if you have been accused of Reckless Endangerment and given a summons. Our lawyers know of the many defenses to this charge and can predict how a jury will react at trial. So, if contacted by police, exercise your constitutional right to remain silent and call our lawyers at 303-791-0719 today. Together, we can protect your future.

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