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Colorado Reckless Endangerment

Colorado Springs Reckless Endangerment Lawyer

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Colorado statute CRS 18-3-208, known as reckless endangerment, is when someone participates in careless or negligent activities that risk the health and well-being of others. Reckless endangerment is a Class 2 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 120 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $750.

Penalties for Reckless Endangerment in Colorado


Charge Classification Penalty
Reckless Endangerment Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 120 days in jail and/or
  • Up to $750 in fines
(Colo. Rev. Stat. § § 18-3-208, 18-1.3-401, 18-1.3-406, 18-1.3-501.)

Here Is What The Prosecution Must Prove to Convict You

The elements of the crime of false imprisonment are:

  1. That the defendant,
  2. in the State of Colorado, at or about the date and place charged,
  3. recklessly,
  4. engaged in conduct that created a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person.
  5. If there is an affirmative defense raised, the prosecution must also prove that the defendant’s conduct was not legally authorized by the affirmative defense.

Possible Defenses for Reckless Endangerment in Colorado

For the prosecutor to convict you of reckless endangerment, they must convince the jury that you are, without a doubt, guilty of the crime. They have to prove that you were acting recklessly. Unlike other charges, proving intent is unnecessary, which means the prosecutor doesn’t have to prove that you were intentionally being reckless to convict.

However, there are several defenses a criminal defense lawyer can use to confirm your innocence or to reduce your charges, such as:

  • Self-defense—You acted recklessly out of self-defense or defense of another
  • Lack of reckless conduct—Your attorney can prove that you were not acting recklessly
  • Accidents—Your actions were accidental, not reckless
  • No bodily harm—Your actions didn’t cause damage, and there was never a risk of serious physical injury

Colorado Revised Statutes, CRS 18-3-208:

18-3-208. Reckless Endangerment:

A person who recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person commits reckless endangerment, which is a class 3 misdemeanor.

Have you been charged or arrested for reckless endangerment in Colorado Springs or El Paso County?

Reckless endangerment can leave a stain on your criminal record. Even if you weren’t intentionally being reckless or if you didn’t cause anyone bodily harm, you can still be convicted of reckless endangerment in Colorado. With many other criminal offenses, the prosecutor must prove intent to convict. However, that is not the case for reckless endangerment. This, in some ways, makes it easier for you to be convicted.

A criminal conviction requires that the jury finds you guilty of a reckless endangerment charge that could cause severe harm to others around you. There are several defenses to this crime, such as acting out of necessity or your actions being accidental. It’s still important to know what Colorado law says about reckless endangerment to defend yourself from being convicted.

Don’t let one wrong decision impact your life, job or freedom.

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Colorado criminal procedure

  • Arrest or

    Arrest or

    The process begins with either an arrest or a summons. The accused is either arrested or served with paperwork summoning them to appear in court. During an arrest, Miranda rights may or may not be read to you. Officers are only required to recite your rights if they intend to question you about potentially incriminating things.

  • Bond Hearing

    Bond Hearing

    In most cases, you're entitled to have a reasonable bond set after you've been arrested. In situations involving domestic violence, the police will request input from the victim before setting a bond. Bonds are set to ensure that a person appears in court at their court dates. If they don’t show up, they forfeit the money that was paid for the bond.

  • Advisement of

    Advisement of

    Whether you are arrested or given a summons to appear, the court must make sure you understand what crimes you are being accused of committing. This is called advisement of charges. The District Attorney will detail the specific charges against you, and the Judge has to make sure you understand what possible penalties are associated with that charge in the state.

  • Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    Preliminary Hearing
    (for Higher Felony

    A preliminary hearing is a way for your defense attorney to challenge the District Attorney’s right to bring charges against you by making them prove that there is reason to believe you committed a crime. The Judge is not deciding your guilt or innocence, but rather whether or not there is probable cause to charge you with the crime in question.

  • Pretrial Conference /

    Pretrial Conference /

    This court date comes after your attorney has reviewed all of the reports and evidence in your case. Here’s where your attorney will engage in plea negotiations with the DA. If they can reach an agreement on the case, you may be able to take a plea bargain. If they cannot reach a resolution, your case will be set for an arraignment or trial date.

  • Arraignment


    An arraignment is the final date for you to decide how you choose to plea. Guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, then the case is set for a sentencing date. If you plead not guilty, you and your attorney will then set the case for trial.

  • Motions Hearing

    Motions Hearing

    A motion hearing is when an attorney makes a request that requires a decision from the judge. For example, motions to suppress evidence or statements. These motions can limit the information that goes before a jury if it benefits your case, and there are legal grounds for doing so.

  • Pretrial Readiness

    Pretrial Readiness

    A pretrial readiness conference is held at some point before trial. It usually is held about a week to a month before the date trial is set to begin. This court date ensures everyone is ready to go to trial on the set date. It is also a time for lawyers to bring up any issues they may have to be addressed before the day of trial.

  • Jury Trial

    Jury Trial

    After a jury is selected for trial, the District Attorney’s responsibility is to present the case to the jury. The DA must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime. Otherwise, the jury must find you innocent. Your attorney will be able to cross-examine all of the witnesses, present evidence, and ultimately help you navigate this process.

  • Sentencing


    At sentencing, the Judge must decide the appropriate legal penalty for the crime you plead guilty. The Judge’s decision is based on the listed penalties for the specific charge, recommendations from the presentence investigation, your criminal history, as well as statements made at the sentencing by the District Attorney, your attorney, you, and any named victims of the crime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some examples of reckless endangerment?

Reckless endangerment charges can involve a wide variety of actions. A typical example would be driving while impaired.

Other examples include:

  • Pointing a loaded gun at someone or firing a gun near someone
  • Dropping a lit cigarette on dry grass next to a house
  • Leaving a child unattended for an extended period

Can a reckless endangerment conviction be sealed in Colorado?

Reckless endangerment convictions can be sealed in Colorado. Your conviction can be sealed two years after the case ends. If your case is dismissed, you don’t have to wait to petition for a seal. Public agencies cannot see the crime on your record when sealing your record.

How can the prosecutor prove reckless endangerment?

While the prosecutor doesn’t have to prove intent, they still have to prove that you acted recklessly in a way that could result in endangering someone. They can show this using witnesses’ testimonies or video and photo evidence.

The prosecutor also has to prove that you knew your actions could result in harming others around you.