What Compromise Can Be Reached In The Reckless Endangering Of Another Person?

Interviewer: What other common offenses accompany DUII?

Shannon: Another one is reckless endangering of another person. It does not necessarily mean that. It still requires that reckless mindset we talked about. You are endangering your passenger or another person on the road.

In those situations, there are specific victims. There is another car on the road that called you in and said you almost hit them. Then, you are charged with a reckless endangering of that person. Another instance is you had a passenger and the state asserts you were endangering that passenger.

If you have a specific victim, that opens the possibility of a civil compromise on that charge. A civil compromise is a tool that is available here in Oregon. I am not sure if it is available in other states or what other states call it.

A civil compromise is basically a contract. It is a contractual opportunity between two individuals. The defendant can offer some sort of relief or remedy to any sort of harm the person experienced.

It could be something as little as a gift certificate from their favorite store or restaurant. It could be anything. It is a contract that your attorney will draw up on your behalf and get the other person to agree to. Then you present the motion to the court for dismissal because there is a contract, a civil compromise between the individuals.

The option for reckless endangering of another person does not apply to reckless driving because there is no specific victim for reckless driving charges. The state is the victim.

Interviewer: Suppose I am in the car with my friend. We go out drinking and I feel too intoxicated to drive. I ask him to drive and he gets arrested for DUII. If he gets a charge of reckless endangerment, would I be the victim as the passenger? Even if I do not want to charge my friend, will the state charge him on my behalf?

Shannon: Yes; that could happen. You added in your scenario that you were also intoxicated.

If you were more intoxicated than the friend driving, I think it would be more difficult for the state to prove he was recklessly endangering you. This is because it was a choice between who is less drunk.

Interviewer: If I was sober, would it be easier for them to say he was recklessly endangering me?

Shannon: Yes; the driver was recklessly endangering you.

Interviewer: What happens if the “victim” does not feel endangered and does not want to testify against a friend?

Shannon: In those situations, civil compromise is really great. Without them making themselves available to the state, we go ahead and draw up a contract for a civil compromise agreement. Then, we present it to the court as soon as possible so we get that dismissal. It goes away pretty fast.

The state can object to the dismissal pursuant to civil compromise. However, with a civil compromise, I have never had that situation. I have not heard a judge say, “No, I am not going to approve it.”

Interviewer: What are the penalties in a civil compromise? Is it just monetary damages?

Shannon: Yes; it could be monetary damages. It could also be a gift card. It has to be some consideration, or something of value, the person receives in agreement to having this case dismissed. Even if they do not agree, that is the kind of language.

There could also be a letter of apology accompanying that. It could ensure the defendant pays any administrative costs, for those charges, to the court. That could be in the requirement.

Interviewer: From an apology letter to thousands of dollars in penalties; what is the typical range of compromise?

Shannon: If you are talking about someone who is your friend, I think it is relatively low. It could be as simple as a gift card or something like that. It could even be a Starbuck’s gift card. It could be anything of value. It is something on board for just getting a dismissal because the “victim” does not feel you should have been charged.

If somebody does feel like a victim, it could be something more. It could be whatever you and the victim agree upon. It could be whatever makes their wrong right again. It could be $500, $800 or $1,000. There is a giant range of different types of creative agreements you can come up with to make sure everybody is happy with the outcome.

Interviewer: Could it be something weird like you have to give your friend a foot message every day for a year or wash their car?

Shannon: It usually has to be something of monetary value.

Shannon I. Wilson, Esq.

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