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What Is Wisconsin’s Law Against Recklessly Endangering Safety?

In July of 2019, police responded to a call regarding two men who were slumped down in a vehicle. An ambulance arrived on the scene, blocking the car between two others. As paramedics were about to check on the occupants, police told them to keep away from the two men, as they had determined the vehicle was stolen.

An officer asked the driver and passenger to step out of the vehicle. Instead of complying with the officer’s request, the driver started the car and began bumping into the vehicles in front and behind it, as well as the ambulance parked to the side. The driver then pulled onto the road and drove the damaged car around, with parts falling off as he went.

The driver hit another vehicle, rendering the stolen car inoperable, and both he and the passenger took off on foot. As a citizen tackled the driver, a 9mm handgun fell out of his pocket, which he picked up and pointed at the person apprehending him. An officer arrived at the scene and ordered the driver to drop his weapon, which he did.

On top of other offenses, the driver was charged with recklessly endangering safety.

What Is Recklessly Endangering Safety?

Under Wisconsin statute 941.30, there are two classifications of this offense:

  • First-degree: Occurs when a person endangers the safety of others without any regard for their lives.
  • Second-degree: Committed when someone recklessly endangers another person’s life.

Reckless conduct includes any behavior that could cause substantial bodily injury or death to another person. The difference between the two classifications is the level to which a person places another individual’s in jeopardy.

Potential Conviction Penalties

First-degree recklessly endangering safety is a Class F felony. Violators could be penalized by up to 12 years and 6 months in prison and/or up to $25,000 in fines.

Although second-degree is considered a lesser offense (charged as a Class G felony), the punishments are still severe. A conviction could include a prison sentence of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $25,000.

Request Your Free Consultation with the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella

If you’re facing a criminal charge, it’s imperative to have personalized and aggressive representation on your side. The legal system is complex, and mistakes made during the process could result in negative consequences, impacting you for the rest of your life. We are ready to provide the competent counsel you need to fight charges.

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