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The Harsh Truth about Facing Homicide Charges in Wisconsin

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, affirmative defenseIn our society, not all homicides are considered crimes. Homicide occurs when one individual takes the life of another individual. Depending on the circumstances, some homicides are lawful while others are unlawful. For example, murder and manslaughter are violations of criminal laws but a homicide committed in a justified action of self-defense is not considered a violation of criminal law.

Under Wisconsin law, there are varying degrees of homicide depending on the gravity of the crime. There is first- and second-degree intentional homicide on one end of the spectrum, with first- and second-degree reckless homicide on the other end. Additionally, there are also categories of homicide that involve:
  • The negligent handling of a dangerous weapon, explosives or fire;
  • The intoxicated use of a vehicle or firearm; and
  • The negligent operation of a vehicle.

If you or a loved one is under investigation or have been arrested for any degree of homicide, you should contact a homicide defense attorney who will be able to identify your options and provide you with the best course of action.

Punishments by Degree of Homicide in Wisconsin

First-degree intentional homicide is defined under Wisconsin law as the intentional act of killing another human being, also known as premeditated murder. Premeditated murder is a Class A felony and carries up to life imprisonment while second-degree murder is a Class B felony and carries a punishment up to 60 years imprisonment.

However, first-degree reckless homicide is only a Class B felony, while second-degree reckless homicide is a Class D felony, which carries up to 25 years imprisonment and up to $100,000 in fines, or both.

The other three categories of homicide identified above, aside from first- and second-degree intentional and reckless homicide, carry varying terms of punishment beginning with at least $25,000 in fines and 10 years imprisonment. Lastly, if you have prior felonies, the terms and fines will likely increase.

Defenses to Homicide

Depending on the circumstances of the case and charges, you may be able to claim an affirmative defense that will mitigate a first-degree intentional homicide charge. Some of these defenses are self-defense, coercion, and heat of passion.

If you assert an affirmative defense, you are usually stating that you committed the crime but you have a defense to the crime. But you always need to remember that the prosecution has to prove every single element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. It seems like a difficult burden to overcome, but commonly, juries return the wrong verdicts.

Do You Believe You Are Wrongly Accused of Homicide?

As you can see, intentional, reckless or negligent homicide charges can lead to very serious punishments. If you are being investigated for criminal homicide, you should contact an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney to help clear your name.

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