As many people arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan or Darien know, most crimes require police to prove the element of intent. That is, you must deliberately, knowingly and intentionally engage in misconduct if you are going to get arrested for a crime in Connecticut. However, many people overlook the fact that some crimes can be committed by accident, and without intent to cause injury to people or damage to property. Many of these crimes involve recklessness—dangerous conduct committed with such extreme indifference to human life that Connecticut lawmakers have deemed it illegal and punishable by time behind bars.
This can be confusing to Stamford and Greenwich people arrested for Reckless Endangerment. How can you get arrested for committing a crime you didn’t intend to commit? Here’s how…
Many of the best Stamford criminal lawyers would likely agree that some of the most frequently charged crimes of recklessness in Connecticut are First and Second Degree Reckless Endangerment under CGS 53a-63 and 53a-64. These are broadly interpreted crimes that can apply to a wide array of relatively innocuous activities such as wrestling with friends, fraternity or sorority pledge events, or rowdiness during a sports game. Thus, what can start out as harmless fun or a prank can quickly escalate into a misdemeanor arrest in Stamford, Darien, New Canaan or Greenwich for Reckless Endangerment in First or Second Degree under CGS 53a-63 and 53a-64.
You can be arrested for Second Degree Reckless Endangerment under C.G.S. § 53a-64 if you recklessly engage in conduct which causes a risk of physical injury to another person. Likewise, a Darien, Stamford, or Greenwich arrest for Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree under C.G.S. § 53a-63 arises if you engage in conduct, with extreme indifference to the life another, which creates a risk of serious physical injury to another person. “Serious physical injury” is considered any kind of injury which involves broken bones. These charges are misdemeanors, not felonies. Penalties for Connecticut 53a-63 and 53a-64 Reckless Endangerment arrests can range from jail time (not to exceed a year), fines, or suspended jail sentences accompanied by probation.
A Connecticut crime that can sometimes be confused or piggybacked onto a Greenwich or Stamford Reckless Endangerment arrest is CGS 53-21 Risk of Injury to a Minor / Child Endangerment. It is another broadly written and frequently charged crime—this time, a felony charge—that forbids you from causing any child under the age of 16 to be put in a situation where (1) the child is placed in physical danger, (2) the child’s mental health is likely to be injured, or (3) the child’s morals are likely to be impaired. This could range from leaving your child unsupervised in a car for just a few minutes, spanking your child, letting them ride a scooter without a helmet, or even getting drunk or intoxicated in your home while your children are present. The problem with how broadly this statute is construed, interpreted and enforced is that in addition to getting arrested for 53-21 Risk of Injury to a Minor, Stamford or Greenwich police can also arrest you for 53a-64 Reckless Endangerment, First or Second Degree. And as the State does not have to prove intent for any of these crimes, these cases are easier for Connecticut prosecutors to prove. Therefore you could find yourself risking a criminal conviction and facing jail time and probation if you do not fight these Connecticut Risk of Injury charges effectively and aggressively.
Connecticut’s child abuse mandated reporting statutes are strictly complied with by the Stamford, Greenwich and Darien Police Departments. Under Connecticut Department of Children and Family (“DCF”) laws, mandated reporters such as police officers, teachers, social workers, coaches, therapists and medical doctors are required to immediately report to DCF any reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect to a child. Therefore, as the best DCF lawyers in Stamford, Greenwich, and Darien would suggest, any time a Reckless Endangerment arrest in Stamford, Greenwich or anywhere in Connecticut involves a child, there is a good chance that DCF will be contacted to launch an investigation. Once that occurs, you will usually get a phone call or home visit from a Connecticut DCF investigator who will be conducting a risk-assessment investigation and study on your home. Know that you do not have to comply with every request from the DCF worker. You have the option to decline their request and consult a top Stamford Connecticut DCF lawyer attorney prior to signing their release forms and sharing information about your children.