The most unfair aspect of Nevada "reckless endangerment" law is that you can get arrested if a cop merely believes you've acted in a dangerous way...even if you never actually caused any concrete harm! And the punishment can be unduly harsh, including high fines and incarceration not to mention a criminal record that could cause future employers to disqualify you.
On this page, our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers explain the Nevada crime of "reckless endangerment" and how we may be able to fight these kinds of charges. If you've been arrested, don't hesitate to call us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) to discuss your case for free.
The legal definition of reckless endangerment in Nevada applies when someone allegedly "neglects any duty imposed by law in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property." Common situations where people may find themselves arrested for reckless endangerment in Las Vegas include:
- Setting off legal fireworks too close to other people or structures
- Jaywalking on a particularly busy street
- Not supervising a child at a playground
As you can see, this is a very broad crime that can implicate anyone for any action that a police officer suspects might have been done on purpose and might prove dangerous. But because reckless endangerment in Las Vegas is so subjective, the prosecutors may be more amenable to plea bargaining the case.
Note that bicycling under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be a type of reckless endangerment. For more information about the Nevada crime of bicycling under the influence, see our article on the Nevada crime of bicycling under the influence. Reckless endangerment is also an offense that comes into play at special events with large crowds, such as EDC or Burning Man. See our article on Nevada Burning Man crimes.
If you've been charged with reckless endangerment in Nevada, remember that the court cannot convict you unless the prosecution proves you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So if your attorney can convince the prosecutors that their evidence is too weak or insufficient to win at trial, your case may get dismissed completely or else lessened to a minor charge. Some defenses your attorney might consider using in these kinds of cases include:
- You didn't behave recklessly. If the attorney can show you acted only negligently or by accident, a reckless conviction charge cannot stand.
- You didn't pose any threat. Perhaps the police officer overreacted to your behavior and unduly feared that your actions could result in harm.
- Exculpatory evidence. Perhaps there were eyewitnesses or a video-recording of your behavior that demonstrates your innocence
- Mistaken identity. Perhaps a crime did occur but the cop simply arrested the wrong person.
The punishments a Clark County court may impose for a Las Vegas reckless endangerment conviction depend upon the severity of the incident. As long as no one sustained substantial bodily harm in Nevada or got killed from the alleged offense, reckless endangerment is treated as a gross misdemeanor carrying:
- up to $2,000 in fines, and/or
- up to 364 days in jail
But if the incident allegedly did result in someone dying or getting seriously hurt, then reckless endangerment in Nevada is considered a category C felony carrying:
- 1 to 5 years in prison
- maybe a fine of up to $10,000 as well
Depending on the case, the prosecutor may be willing to plea bargain a reckless endangerment charge down to just a minor misdemeanor such as jaywalking or breaching the peace in Nevada. Breaching the peace in Nevada carries a lesser sentence of:
- up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- up to 6 months in jail
We're here to help YOU . . . .
No matter what kind of criminal case you're facing in Nevada, it may be possible for us to persuade the state to lower your charges to something more minor or to dismiss them altogether. Call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation today.
Also see our article on failure to register a drone.