What Is Reckless Endangerment?
The crime of “reckless endangerment Alabama” is defined (under Alabama criminal law) as engaging in acts, conduct or behavior creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person. No intent to cause harm to another is required to convict, since the behavior or acts are view from a “reasonable person” perspective. The accused person need only have acted volitionally (i.e., made a conscious decision or choice to DO the ACT), for the Class A misdemeanor crime to take place.
The Alabama Criminal Code, under Alabama Code § 13A-6-24, has a statute, reckless endangerment, that can be broadly applied to many types of risky conduct, based upon a law enforcement officer’s discretion. This law is a Class A misdemeanor, and is serious enough to justify hiring a criminal defense attorney to handle this Alabama criminal offense. Too many young men and women have seen the Jackass movie, and delude themselves into believing that stupid, risky acts are acceptable.
Conduct of the Accused is Usually Viewed in Hindsight, after an Injury
A central issue, at a trial, is whether the accused’s conduct would create a substantial risk of injury to another person. If the conduct had foreseeable consequences or risk of serious physical harm, then a jury can convict of the offense of recklessly putting another in harm’s way. By way of example, if the accused citizens was flipping and catching a pistol (mishandling a deadly weapon) with others standing nearby, the foreseeability of some needless serious injury (or death) to another person was readily apparent.
Endangering the Safety of Others
The crime focuses on endangering the safety of others, such as children, elderly, or anyone else. Reckless endangerment Alabama was enacted by the Alabama legislature in 1977, and is applicable to reckless conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to any person. The simple, but comprehensive state law covers a wide sweep of potential criminal conduct under Alabama criminal laws.
Wording of the Alabama Law on Reckless Endangerment
Alabama Code 1975, Section 13A-6-24
Section 13A-6-24. Reckless endangerment.
(a) A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person.
(b) Reckless endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor.
Injury Need Not be Sustained by Another to Accuse or Arrest a Person
The person placed in harm’s way does NOT have to be injured, or killed (which would likely trigger other Alabama felony statutes) for this crime to be accused by law enforcement. In the majority of Alabama reckless endangerment cases, a motor vehicle is involved, and our experienced traffic ticket lawyers already know the criminal courts across our State, that handle this criminal law cases, such as DUI in Alabama. If the suspect recklessly engages in conduct which creates the high risk of personal injury to another person, the crime can be asserted by a police officer investigating the incident.
Circumstantial Evidence Can Support AL Reckless Endangerment Charges
When an Alabama police officer arrives to answer an emergency call about injury or death, or see the act while it is taking place (e.g., a car driving down the highway with a person standing on the hood). In examining the scene, and any physical evidence, the officer may interview bystanders who witnessed the event, and then must gauge the described actions, and exercise “discretion” whether to accuse reckless endangerment or possibly some lesser offense.
If the suspected citizen has recklessly disregarded the possible consequences of his or her actions, that individual can be charged with this misdemeanor offense in Alabama. A good number of cases are based upon circumstantial evidence. Plus, the “victim” may or may not be related to the perpetrator.
Endangerment in Alabama: No Reported Constitutional Challenges or Appeals
A search of Westlaw for reckless endangerment cases does not reveal any reported appeals from this 40-year old law on endangering another person. The wording of the Alabama code section is fairly nebulous and generic, so the lack of any appeals (based upon the statute being overly broad) can be a result of cases being negotiated out to a lesser offense, deferment or dismissals of some marginal cases.
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