Reckless Conduct Charges in Georgia

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You’ve heard it before. You should know better. In Georgia it is not a relic of childhood. Certain actions, when one knew or should have known of the consequences, constitute a crime.

Georgia code § 16-5-60 covers reckless conduct, which is causing harm to or endangering the bodily safety of another and is punishable as a misdemeanor. For a charge of reckless conduct the court will ask “whether a person who caused bodily harm to or endangered the bodily safety of another person by consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his act or omission would cause harm or endanger the safety of the other person and the disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care which a reasonable person would exercise in the situation.”

Summed up this means, “Did you know of the possible harm and do it anyway, when it was clear to a reasonable person that someone would or could get hurt?” Or to give a real-life example that many people are capable of, leaving a child unattended in a car. Everyone knows it is potentially dangerous, even fatal.  Yet caregivers, thinking it is different for their situation, harmless, or that they will actually be “right back” often gamble and leave children in the car, not knowing that doing so could lead to a misdemeanor.

There is also an unexpected element to a criminal reckless conduct charge. With a ratio of 31.8 per every 100,000 people, Georgia leads the Nation as having the most citizens living with HIV. Under Georgia code § 16-5-60 the transmission of HIV to another is considered reckless conduct, punishable as a felony. This means that if someone knows that they have HIV they must disclose that information before engaging in any form of contact that could transmit the disease. This includes consensual sex, solicitation for sex, sharing hyper-dermic needles and donating blood. If one does not know they have HIV it is a defense to the crime, however, knowing and not thinking someone will contract the disease is not a defense, meaning that even if no one is hurt the risk alone is considered to be endangering the bodily safety of another and is enough for one to be found guilty of reckless conduct.

What begins as every day conduct can suddenly become reckless conduct with a lapse of judgment. If you find yourself with a reckless conduct charge contact Bixon Law right away at (404) 551-5684, experienced counsel can help ensure your rights to a fair trial.

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