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For other uses, see Endangerment (disambiguation).

Endangerment is a type of crime involving conduct that is wrongful and reckless or wanton, and likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm to another person. There are several kinds of endangerment, each of which is a criminal act that can be prosecuted in a court. In some U.S. states, such as Florida, substantially similar language is used for the crime of Culpable negligence.

The offense is intended to prohibit and therefore deter reckless or wanton conduct that wrongfully creates a substantial risk of death or serious injury to others.

Various laws specify several types of endangerment:

  • Child endangerment: placing a child in a potentially harmful situation, either through negligence or misconduct.
  • Reckless endangerment: A person commits the crime of reckless endangerment if the person recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. “Reckless” conduct is conduct that exhibits a culpable disregard of foreseeable consequences to others from the act or omission involved. The accused need not intentionally cause a resulting harm. The ultimate question is whether, under all the circumstances, the accused’s conduct was of that heedless nature that made it actually or imminently dangerous to the rights or safety of others.
  • Public endangerment is usually applied to crimes which place the public in some form of danger, although that danger can be more or less severe according to the crime. It is punished most frequently in Canada.[1][2]

Endangerment can range from a misdemeanor to a felony. For example, the New York Penal Code §120.20 defines reckless endangerment in the second degree (class A misdemeanor) as conduct that "creates a substantial serious risk of injury to another person", and §120.25 deals with reckless endangerment in the first degree (class D felony), which is conduct that shows a "depraved indifference to human life" and "creates a grave risk of death to another person". In addition, §145.25 codifies reckless endangerment to property as a class B misdemeanor. One of the most important elements in these charges is not that necessarily damage or injury happened, but that there was potential for substantial injury or damage to occur by the defendant's actions.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Walkerton Water Contamination Criminal Charges". About.com - Canada. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  2. ^ "Policy Title: Video Surveillance" (PDF). Georgina Library. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  3. ^ Reckless Endangerment Charges in New York, Article. June 2010. Bukh Law Firm, PC - 14 Wall St, New York NY 10005 - (212) 729-1632. NYC Endangerment Lawyer