Endangerment in Arizona includes Driving under the Influence

by Aaron Black • August 22, 2019

Driving under the influenceAn act of endangerment under Arizona law takes in an array of situations, and if you or a loved one is accused of this offense you’re facing a serious criminal charge. If convicted your life will change dramatically.

The endangerment law, Arizona Revised Statute §13-1201, is purposefully terse simply stating that “recklessly endangering” someone causing a “substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.”

To win an endangerment conviction, the state’s case must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of these elements that comprise this law. The defendant:
  • Intended to commit the act that resulted in the charge
     
  • Knew or had reason to believe that the act involved risk
     
  • The risk was not accidental or negligent conduct
     
  • The risk was unreasonable or caused harm to a person

Examples of Endangerment in Arizona

There are numerous situations of endangerment. Let’s look at some of the most common that happen in all cities including Phoenix, AZ.
  • Driving while intoxicated (DUI) or on drugs puts the driver and others at risk of serious injury or death in crashes and can be charged even if a wreck didn’t happen.
     
  • Street racing, a common occurrence on our roads, is inherently dangerous jeopardizing other motorists, pedestrians, racing participants and by-standers. This behavior sometimes causes serious injury and death.
     
  • Evading pursuing police endangers the person fleeing, the public and the law officers involved.
     
  • Leaving a child in a parked car in Arizona’s sweltering heat begins with endangering the child and too often ends in the child’s death.
     
  • Committing a crime in the company of a minor, such as robbing a convenience store with the child as a witness to the crime or left unattended in the getaway car.
     
  • Shooting a firearm into the air, particularly on holidays, places people in danger when the bullet falls to earth.
     
  • Domestic violence often revolves around children and puts them in dangerous situations sometimes signaling Amber alerts that may cause the driver to take dangerous chances on the road.
     
  • Placing a child or an animal in any substantial risk situation.

Felony or Misdemeanor Charge Alleged

Prosecutors can charge a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the seriousness involved.

A class 6 felony in in all cities including Phoenix, AZ, the least serious of this class of crime, is often charged in DUI cases and is used when someone was placed at a substantial risk.

If the risk wasn’t substantial a class 1 misdemeanor, the most serious of misdemeanor crimes, can be charged.

Penalties for Endangerment

An endangerment felony conviction in all cities including Phoenix, AZ means incarceration in state prison and court ordered fines and surcharges stretching into four figures. Probation ordered by the court places restrictions on the defendant’s conduct after the sentence is served, such as not consuming alcohol or non-prescription drugs. A misdemeanor conviction can require time in jail and significant fines. Repeat offenders face more time incarcerated under Arizona law.

Judges have discretion under Arizona’s sentencing guidelines, which has five ranges to determine how long a sentence should be in particular cases. The levels are mitigated, minimum, presumptive, maximum and aggravated.

Those convicted of a felony in Arizona are further punished by stripping them of their Constitutional Second Amendment right to possess and bear firearms and the right to vote in elections.

As landlords have a duty to protect their renters, it can be difficult for a convicted felon to rent a place to live, although the defendant may argue discrimination under the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The fines and potential loss of employment for felons creates a financial hardship and those who have professional licenses such as teachers and financial consultants face license suspension or revocation.

Arizona’s Endangerment Defenses

Police and prosecutors investigating an alleged endangerment situation may not go beyond the obvious in collecting evidence and sometimes may overlook evidence favorable to the defendant. They’re busy with a heavy case load and can miss things in the rush to judgment.

An experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix, AZ and surrounding areas conducts an independent and thorough probe into all of the state’s evidence and can interview state witnesses and challenge their credibility. The defense searches for errors in fact, mistakes in procedure, and any violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights protecting against self-incrimination, or continuing the interrogation even though the defendant asked that an attorney be present.

Endangerment Defenses

  • The risk of imminent death didn’t exist
     
  • The defendant didn’t have the intent required in the law
     
  • The risk taken was accidental, negligent, or reasonable and there was no harm done
Other defenses may be available depending upon the fact pattern of the particular case.

In some cases the prosecution may offer to replace the endangerment charge with a less serious offense carrying a more lenient sentence, if the defendant enters a guilty plea to the reduced charge, such as acting recklessly. If the prosecution doesn’t offer a plea agreement, it may be possible for the defense to negotiate a reduced charge.

Free, Legal Consultation

If you or a family member has been charged with endangerment in any city including Phoenix, AZ, it's imperative that you immediately be represented by an attorney who is well-versed in this area of law such as myself.

I invite you to take advantage of my free legal advice by contacting Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney Aaron Black or call (480) 729-1683 for a confidential telephonic case assessment without any obligation to hire me to defend you. This free service is available 24/7 and I will promptly respond unless I’m in court.

During our conversation I’ll listen to your side of the case, ask questions and explain the law and procedures and advise you of your options.

I provide personalized service all the way through the various procedural steps and I have a record of aggressively defending criminal cases to achieve the best result possible. I work to earn a dismissal of the charges before trial. Everyone is entitled to a fair and impartial trial.

Aaron Black defends Arizona criminal cases in city, state, and federal courts.