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Heroin and Homicide Charges in Wisconsin

Posted on in Criminal Defense
Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, Wisconsin drug crimes attorneyHeroin addiction is growing in Wisconsin and throughout the nation, and lawmakers are attempting to discourage this through the adoption of harsh legal penalties. Just this past June, a 36-year-old woman was sentenced to five years in prison for reckless homicide after providing heroin to a man that overdosed. She was not accused of being a drug dealer, but was still charged and imprisoned for homicide for providing heroin which resulted in death.

What Is Reckless Homicide in Wisconsin?

You can be convicted of first degree reckless homicide in Wisconsin, which is a Class B felony, if a prosecutor proves that you caused the death of another person under circumstances that show utter disregard for human life. In the circumstances described above, however, the Wisconsin legislature has determined that the appropriate charge is a Class C felony.

Class C Felony Charge of Reckless Homicide for Providing Heroin

According to the Wisconsin legislature, if you manufacture, distribute, or deliver heroin (or other controlled substances) to another human being, who uses the drug and dies as a result, you are guilty of the Class C felony reckless homicide. This means that a number of different people can be held accountable if somebody overdoses and dies from heroin, including a fellow user. Put another way, you can be charged with reckless homicide and face a substantial prison term, even if you were also using heroin with the person who overdosed.

Penalties for Class C Reckless Homicide

Class C felonies are extremely serious, and can result in penalties of up to 40 years in prison and fines of up to $100,000. The woman in the case mentioned above actually pled guilty to first degree reckless homicide, a Class B felony with even longer prison penalties. There is obviously discretion allowed, as in this case, the woman received a five-year sentence. The prosecution argued that she should face a 10-year sentence, as the deceased passed out and she allegedly did not seek help for him. Instead, she and another woman allegedly left the deceased passed out in his truck, without getting him any medical attention. Her defense attorney sought a suspended sentence and drug treatment, and pointed out to the court that she was also using drugs at the time. It appears as if the court decided to split the difference. Interestingly, there was another woman allegedly present, a cousin of the deceased, who was charged differently and received a lighter sentence. It could be that her sentence was so much lighter because she was the first to plead guilty, back in April of 2015. She pled guilty to a felony charge of delivery of a controlled substance, and no contest to failing to provide assistance, which is a misdemeanor. For whatever reason, she was not given any prison time, and was sentenced to three years of probation.

Conclusion

Being a drug user has become criminalized in many ways over the past decades, and you may be charged with reckless homicide if another user dies in your presence. If you are facing drug charges or you are being charged with reckless homicide due to a drug overdose of another, the experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys at our firm are ready to protect your rights and fight for you. Call us today for a no-obligation consultation if you are facing Wisconsin felony charges.

Sources:

http://wislawjournal.com/2015/06/23/madison-woman-gets-5-years-in-mans-drug-overdose-death/

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/940/I/02

http://nbc15.com//state/headlines/Two-women-charged-in-heroin-death-280951332.html
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