Endangerment and reckless endangerment are criminal charges when you risk injury or harm to someone by your careless, reckless, or negligent behavior. Criminal endangerment is typically a misdemeanor offense.
Reckless endangerment is a a more serious charge, most commonly used when the endangering act is serious and risky enough that it could result in serious injury or death to another person.
Reckless endangerment is typically categorized as a felony, which can carry with it penalties of more than 1 year in prison, if convicted of the offense.
This charge is often related to an assault offense, and may be a charges reduction from an assault.
Child endangerment, or reckless endangerment of a child are more serious than a standard endangerment offense. State laws categorize child endangerment as an aggregating factor at different levels. Some states have more serious penalties for endangerment of a child under 14.
Most child endangerment charges are felony offenses.
A child endangerment charge can result from many different circumstances, including:
- Leaving children unattended at home
- Leaving children unattended in a car (even if you lock your keys in the car with your kids inside, you could be charged)
- DUI or drunk driving charge with a child in the car
- Drug possession or drug use with a child in your care
- Any action that could be considered taking your children to a dangerous or unsafe environment, or leaving them without immediate supervision.
Some states have laws with different levels of endangerment that includes felony abuse and neglect of children.
Any child endangerment charge is extremely serious, and courts are unlikely to be lenient in situations where a judge may think a minor child might continue to be at risk or subject to neglect. These criminal charges can result in loss of parental custodial rights, and can be a disaster for families.
Speaking to a lawyer who understands both the implications of the criminal charges and any potential family court issues is critical.