In the state of Arizona, “endangerment” occurs when a person recklessly endangers another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury. In cases of vehicular endangerment such behavior is exhibited when a driver portrays “extreme indifference” to a human life while driving.
Vehicular endangerment is often charged in connection with another crime. Although most commonly used in association with DUI cases, other motor vehicle offenses connected with vehicular endangerment include vehicular manslaughter, vehicular assault, street racing, hit and run accidents and eluding an officer at high speeds.
Vehicular endangerment is commonly used as a bargaining tool for a plea negotiation when the defendant has been charged with a DUI, especially in aggravated DUI cases. Aggravated DUI is a class 4 felony while endangerment is the lesser offense of a class 6 felony or class 1 misdemeanor if there was no immediate threat of death, so a defendant would likely benefit from agreeing to the lesser charge.
In a vehicular endangerment case, prosecutors must prove that the defendant was recklessly endangering other’ lives while driving. The defendant must have been aware of, and consciously disregard the fact that their actions posed an element of danger to the public.
If convicted of vehicular endangerment, a driver could face up to three years in prison as well as skyrocketing insurance rates. It is important to seek legal council from a DUI attorney to look at your case in order to prevent an endangerment conviction and its associated punishments.