Whether in the Phoenix area, or anywhere in Arizona, per A.R.S. §13-1201 “Endangerment”, occurs when a person recklessly endangers another person with a substantial risk of eminent death or physical injury. This is usually charged in cases that involve extreme indifference while driving. Most often it is used by a Prosecutor as a “lesser offense” in order to plead an Aggravated DUI down to an Endangerment charge. Since Aggravated DUI is a class four (4) felony, and Endangerment is a class six (6) felony (i.e., a lower felony), it can transform mandatory prison time into jail time. With “prison”, a person must be behind bars twenty-four (24) hours a day, however, with “jail” time, a person only needs to be behind bars twelve (12) hours a day while they are allowed to go to work for the other twelve (12) hours a day.
Possible Punishment for Endangerment
Endangerment which involves a substantial risk of eminent death can be charged as a class six (6) felony. For a first offense a class six (6) felony, punishment can be probation with zero (0) days in jail up to one (1) year in jail; or prison of four (4) months to two (2) years of incarceration. If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is nine (9) months to two and three quarters (2.75) years in prison. If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is two and one quarter (2.25) to five and three quarters (5.75) years of incarceration.
An Endangerment which does not involve a substantial risk of eminent death, only a substantial risk of physical injury, can be charged as a class one (1) misdemeanor. The range of punishment for a class one (1) misdemeanor is probation with anywhere from zero (0) days in jail up to six (6) months in jail, and a fine of up to $2500.00 plus an 84% surcharge.
Possible Defenses for Endangerment
A key defense regarding Endangerment is proving that there was not a “substantial risk of eminent death”. Endangerment is one of the most over-charged cases in Arizona. Many times Officers are upset when they witness what is otherwise known as misdemeanor Reckless Driving, and they turn it into felony Endangerment. If a person is charged with misdemeanor Endangerment (which is rare), then it is critical to show that there was not a “substantial risk of physical injury”. If it can be shown that there were no other vehicles within striking distance, and there were no people walking along the sidewalks or near the vicinity of the traveled roadway, then the Endangerment charge should be dismissed. It will be important to interview all potential witnesses who were in the nearby area or seek out any independent evidence. This independent evidence would include any video tapes obtained from nearby establishments which maintain video security surveillance (i.e., Circle K’s, bank parking lots, Wal-Mart parking lots, etc.). Lastly, it is possible to obtain the statistical and diagnostic module (i.e., the “Black Box”) from newer model cars which will demonstrate the speed and RPMs which occurred prior to being stopped. If it can be shown that there was no rapid acceleration or high speeds, then this can be used to refute the Officers claims.
The “Common Defenses” for Endangerment, which an Endangerment Lawyer may apply in any criminal case are numerous and diverse. One of most common defenses we encounter is a “Miranda rights Violation”. In Arizona, the standard of whether any inculpatory statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “Voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements.
In addition, “Denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their Attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; ballistics; gunshot residue testing; computer analysis/”cloning hard drive” procedures; forensic financial accounting reviews; etc. Lastly, one of the most common defenses is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Endangerment Lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of both the specific defenses and the common defenses involved in an Endangerment case.
It is important to hire an AV® rated law firm (the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®). Also David Michael Cantor is a Phoenix Defense Lawyer and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist, per the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. In addition, the Firm and all of its lawyers are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®. At DM Cantor, the majority of our Attorneys are ex-Prosecutors, and all of our Phoenix Defense Lawyers for Endangerment know the system well. For a free initial consultation, call us at 602-307-0808, or click here to contact us now.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to a Phoenix Defense Lawyer for Endangerment. We will assist you with your Endangerment case.