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Reckless Endangerment Charges In Wisconsin

Reckless Endangerment Charges in Wisconsin Stem From a Disregard for Human Safety

Anyone who engages in conduct, actions, or activities that put another person at risk of harm in Wisconsin could be setting themselves up for reckless endangerment charges. This type of behavior is considered illegal in the state and is a felony offense.

Reckless Endangerment in Wisconsin

Reckless endangerment is governed by Wisconsin State Statute 941.30. Reckless endangerment charges may be first- or second-degree charges.

  • First-degree reckless endangerment requires the person to have done something that endangers someone else with actions that “show utter disregard of human life.” This is a Class F felony.
  • Second-degree reckless endangerment is less severe and is usually charged when a person acts in a way that puts another person’s safety at risk but does not act with utter disregard for human life. This is a Class G felony.

In order to be charged with recklessly endangering safety, it must be proven that the accused had a “reckless culpable state of mind.” Under Wisconsin law, this means that the accused:

  • Engaged in behavior that put someone else at risk of death or great bodily harm, and
  • Knew that risk existed.

There are many activities that could lead to reckless endangerment. One example stems from a domestic disturbance: An argument erupts between two family members at a backyard BBQ. The situation escalates, and one of the people involved in the argument starts to leave the location but then is overcome with emotion, pulls a gun, and fires back at the party.

Even if no one is harmed in this situation, that person could still face reckless endangerment charges because there was a chance of someone suffering serious injury or death due to the actions of the party-goer. Even if her actions were accidental, say the other person saw her gun and tried to wrestle it away from her, but it discharged, the gun owner could still face charges.

Penalties Associated With Reckless Endangerment

If found guilty of recklessly endangering safety, the accused faces either Class G or Class F felony charges depending on whether or not they are charged with first- or second-degree reckless endangerment.

The conviction penalties of first-degree Class F recklessly endangering safety are :

  • up to 12 years and 6 months in prison, and/or
  • a fine of up to $25,000.

The penalties for second-degree Class G recklessly endangering safety are less severe because they do not involve demonstrating an utter disregard for human life. However, these are still serious charges and penalties, which may include:

  • up to 10 years in prison, and
  • fines up to $25,000.

Fighting Reckless Endangerment Charges in Wisconsin

Reckless endangerment charges can stem from many different situations and may occur with or without weapons being involved. It may be an argument that gets out of control, a road rage incident, or the result of enjoying Happy Hour a little too much. Each situation is unique and requires a defense that is tailored to the circumstances of the situation. The criminal defense attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices in Madison, Wisconsin are here to help you build a solid defense for reckless endangerment charges. We will examine all of the facts, collect our own evidence, and contact witnesses to help minimize the fallout from what may have been simply a mistake on your part. 

Discuss your situation with one of our criminal defense attorneys in a free case consultation appointment. Call 608-256-8356 or email to schedule your no-risk, no-obligation consultation.



Eisenberg Law has successfully represented our clients in thousands of Personal Injury, Criminal Defense and Family Law Cases during our 30-plus years in business.