Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage is a criminal law in New Jersey that can be applied in a variety of ways.
Under section (b) of the statute (2C:17-2(b)), a person who recklessly causes widespread injury or damage is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
In general “widespread injury or damage” is defined as causing an explosion, flood, avalanche, building collapse, or the release of poison gas, radioactive material, or any other harmful or destructive substance.
As with many criminal statutes, the element of recklessness is critical to how the charge is applied.
If prosecutors believe you can be shown to have behaved purposely or knowingly, rather than recklessly, you can be charged with the more serious Second Degree Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage, and the consequences are far more severe.
As a third degree charge, the maximum penalty you’ll face for this count is three to five years in prison with fines of $15,000.
At the second degree level, your prison time can be doubled, and your fine ten times higher.
Criminal charges have defenses, and criminal defendants are entitled to a strong defense.
Your best bet to avoid the worst consequences of conviction under 2C:17-2(b) is to work with an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and build the most compelling case possible for you.
If you’ve been charged with Causing or Risking Widespread Injury or Damage in New Jersey at any level, call Matt Reisig today at 732-625-9661 and talk to a lawyer for free.