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Recklessness is a type of culpable mental state, usually considered equivalent to acting purposefully or just below purposefully.

When a defendant acts recklessly, he ignores the likely consequences of his actions.

For example, a defendant who throws rocks from an overpass at cars on a highway and causes another person’s death should have recognized that his actions would likely seriously hurt or kill a driver. Assuming the defendant did not actually want to hurt anyone or intend to hurt anyone, a court would likely find that the defendant acted recklessly. The defendant must have known that his actions would likely cause death or serious injury so he deliberately ignored the likely consequence. As a result, this defendant may be just as culpable or slightly less culpable than a person who deliberately caused a driver’s death by throwing rocks from an overpass.

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