New York Penal Law § 145.25: Reckless Endangerment of Property

Reckless endangerment is a criminal offense that seeks to punish those whose actions show disregard for others. Under New York Penal Law § 15.05(3), acting recklessly is defined as being aware of a risk that an action may cause another person a serious injury and consciously ignoring that risk. However, under New York Penal Law § 145.25 it is also a crime to behave in a reckless manner such that you put another person's property at risk. You could be prosecuted for reckless endangerment of property if you recklessly engage conduct that creates a substantial risk of damage to someone else's property in amount exceeding $250.

Example

In People v. Swart, 709 N.Y.S.2d 653 (2000), defendant Wayne Swart stole a truck. When the owner's son spotted Swart driving the truck, Swart took off at a high speed. Eventually Swart drove off the rode into a hay field and jumped out of the truck while it was still moving. The truck ultimately crashed.

In People v. Skinner, 556 N.Y.S.2d 172 (1990), after being suspended from his job the defendant set his boss' car on fire. He was convicted of reckless endangerment of property. Similarly in People v. Hameed, 558 N.Y.S.2d 330 (1990) the defendant was convicted of reckless endangerment of property after setting his landlord's residence on fire after having argued with him earlier in the day.

Related Offenses
  1. Burglary in the First Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.30
  2. Burglary in the Second Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.25
  3. Burglary in the Third Degree: New York Penal Law § 140.20
Defenses

In order to successfully prosecute you for reckless endangerment of property, the key elements that the prosecutor must show are that your actions were "reckless," and that they caused a "substantial risk" of damage in an amount "exceeding $250." If you can show that your actions were not actually reckless in that they were not a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe, then you may have a good defense against reckless endangerment of property charges. For example, if you borrow a friend's car and drive 100 mph where the speed limit is 55, you could be charged with reckless endangerment of property. However, if under the same circumstances you drove 60 mph, a charge of reckless endangerment of property probably would not be warranted.

Sentence

Because reckless endangerment in the second degree is a Class B misdemeanor if you are convicted you could be sent to county jail for up to 3 months. It is also possible for the judge to sentence you to probation instead of jail or in addition to jail.

New York Penal Law § 145.25: Reckless Endangerment of Property

A person is guilty of reckless endangerment of property when he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a substantial risk of damage to the property of another person in an amount exceeding two hundred fifty dollars.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Even though reckless endangerment of property is a misdemeanor and not a felony, it is still important to have experienced representation. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with criminal mischief as well as other felonies and misdemeanors such as grand larceny, burglary, and assault. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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