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Reckless conduct is a relatively vague term that can include a huge variety of activities. It can occur in a lot of different scenarios, and has a wide range of applications and penalties that can attach to it.
It's defined in Title 17-A, §211 of Maine's criminal law:
“A person is guilty of reckless conduct if he recklessly creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person.”
It doesn't take a skilled attorney to realize that this is a very wide-reaching law. As one of the violent crimes that can happen in the state of Maine, however, it is far from a trivial thing to face criminal charges for reckless conduct.
What “Recklessly” Means
Legally speaking, recklessness is a state of mind. It fits somewhere in between knowing what you're doing (acting with knowledge) and not knowing what you're doing (acting negligently). Recklessness is actively disregarding the risks that could arise from your actions. An example of recklessness is swinging a baseball bat in a crowded room. Even if you don't intend to hurt someone, or even if you don't know that it will hurt someone, the chances are that it will. Additionally, the act of swinging a baseball bat in a crowded room so clearly puts other people in danger that doing so would require you to actively disregard the odds that it'll hurt someone.
Domestic Violence is a Common Scenario
Reckless conduct charges come most often as a result of family disputes. If this is the case, the charge will not be for reckless conduct, but for domestic violence reckless conduct. These laws are both the same, but penalties for repeat offenders increase for the domestic violence version, but not for a standard reckless conduct charge. In order to be charged for the domestic violence version of reckless conduct, both parties involved have to be from the same family or household.
Reckless conduct, in general, is a Class D misdemeanor. This comes with up to 364 days in jail, and up to $2,000 in fines.
However, if the charge of reckless conduct comes in a domestic violence context, the penalties can increase if you have prior convictions for certain crimes. If this is the case, the reckless conduct charge would be a Class C felony charge, which comes with 5 years in jail, and $5,000 in fines, if you end up getting convicted.
How Having a Criminal Defense Can Help
When it comes to prosecuting domestic violence charges, Maine does not fool around. They fight tooth and nail for convictions on all charges.
This becomes problematic when the charge is for reckless conduct, because of how vague the law is. Having an experienced attorney, like William T. Bly, with you to defend against the charges can be the difference between a conviction and an acquittal or a dropped charge. Mr. Bly's experience in the criminal law system has given him familiarity with the district attorneys in Maine. He can use this to negotiate with the prosecutors, to help them understand what really happened, that the charges against you are inaccurate, and that they should be dropped. Even if this doesn't work, Mr. Bly's years of experience as a trial lawyer make him a huge asset to have when the case goes to court.
Contact our office today online, or by calling (207) 571-8146.