New York Penal Law 120.25: First Degree Reckless Endangerment

by ECL Writer
What Is A Criminal Complaint?

New York Penal Law 120.25 is the statute that outlines the crime of first degree reckless endangerment in the state of New York. Reckless endangerment is a serious offense that can result in significant legal and personal consequences, including imprisonment and fines. First-degree reckless endangerment is the most severe form of this offense and involves behavior that creates a grave risk of death to another person.

If you or someone you know is facing charges related to first-degree reckless endangerment, it is important to take the situation seriously and seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney. In this article, will explore the definition of first-degree reckless endangerment, the potential penalties for this offense, and the importance of working with a skilled legal professional to defend against these charges.

Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree, New York Penal Law 120.25, is a devastating offense to face by way of a criminal investigation, arrest, indictment, or trial in the State of New York. It is significantly more serious than its misdemeanor counterpart (which is a serious criminal offense on its own).

In actuality, whether or not you are imprisoned “upstate,” you will lose some rights if you are found guilty of the felony Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree. One of the first steps you must take to ensure the best possible outcome is to determine and implement the most viable defense with your criminal attorney if you are charged with or arrested for violating NY PL 120.25 in New York City – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx – Westchester County, Rockland County or another metropolitan New York jurisdiction, regardless of the allegations, facts, or evidence.

Understanding First Degree Reckless Endangerment: PL 120.25

You are guilty of Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree when under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, you recklessly engage in conduct that creates a grave risk of death to another person.

Like Second Degree Reckless Endangerment, the First Degree offense has specifically defined terms that you need to understand before fully grasping the crime.

  • Recklessly Engaging in Conduct Which Creates a Grave Risk of Death to Another Person: In order for prosecutors to prove this element beyond a reasonable doubt they must establish that you were engaged in conduct that created a grave and unjustifiable risk of death, you were aware of and consciously disregarded this risk and this was a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that of a reasonable person in the particular situation. It is critical to recognize that no matter how reckless the conduct, the evidence must also show that you acted in a manner evincing a depraved indifference to human life.
  • Depraved Indifference to Human Life: More than mere indifference, you act with a depraved indifference to human life when you recklessly engage in conduct that poses a grave risk of death. A person has a depraved indifference to human life when that person has an utter disregard for the value of human life – a willingness to act, not because he or she means to cause grievous harm, but because he or she simply does not care whether or not grievous harm will result. In other words, a person who is depravedly indifferent is not just willing to take a grossly unreasonable risk to human life. Instead, that person does not care how the risk turns out.

Conviction And Consequence: First Degree Reckless Endangerment

Outside of the obvious, a conviction for PL 120.25 will also give you a felony record that you will be linked to for your entire life. Equally concerning, there is a very real chance that you will end up incarcerated in a New York State prison. With no prior criminal history, if you are convicted of First Degree Reckless Endangerment you will face a sentence of up to two and one-third to seven years in prison. If you have a prior felony, your minimum will be two to four years and your maximum exposure will be three and one half to seven years in custody. Professional licenses, immigration status, and many other related statuses, certificates, and opportunities can be severely compromised and potentially eradicated as well.

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