Contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. for first degree intentional homicide defense

Murder charges are the most serious crimes an individual can face.  Although Wisconsin is not a death penalty state, our government applies the most serious penalties available to individuals accused of this aggravated offense.  Murder defense attorneys Matt Meyer and Ben Van Severen have worked on high-profile murder cases.  The skilled criminal defense team at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. is prepared to defend your homicide, manslaughter, or murder case no matter the consequences.  If you’ve been convicted of first degree intentional homicide, you face a potential life sentence in prison.  Contact one of our manslaughter defense attorneys today at (414) 270-0202.


What is first degree intentional homicide?

Section 940.01 of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits first degree intentional homicide.  940.01(1)(a) says: “… whoever causes the death of another human being with intent to kill that person or another is guilty of a Class A felony.”

This murder charge has two elements that need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt at jury trial.  Those elements are:

  1. The defendant caused the death of the victim.
  2. The defendant acted with intent to kill the victim or another human.

Cause means the defendant’s act was a substantial factor in producing the death.  Intent to kill means the defendant had the mental purpose to take the life of another human being or was aware that his conduct was practically certain to cause the death of another human being.  In order to prepare a proper defense, your murder defense attorney must understand these important definitions.

Appellate courts have had a chance to further explore and define first degree intentional homicide.  In State v. Block, the Court of Appeals made clear that the defendant’s actions need not be the sole cause of the victim’s death.  The prosecutor is only required to prove that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in causing the death.  Your homicide defense attorney must understand case law underlying each criminal offense you’ve been charged with.  The defense lawyers at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. do.


What are mitigating circumstances?

Mitigating circumstances don’t excuse the defendant for his/her actions, but they reduce the degree of the offense.  First degree intentional homicide is reduced to second degree intentional homicide in a few circumstances:

  • Adequate provocation.  The victim’s death was caused under the influence of adequate provocation.
  • Unnecessary defensive force.  The death was caused because the actor believed he/someone else was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm, and that the force was necessary to defend the endangered person, if either believe was unreasonable.
  • Prevention of felony.  The death was caused because the actor believed that the force was necessary in the exercise of privilege to prevent or terminate the commission of a felony, if that belief was unreasonable.
  • Coercion; necessity.  Death was caused in the exercise of coercion/necessity privileges.

Once the defendant has placed affirmative defense in issue, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the facts constituting the defense did not exist in order to sustain a finding of guilt.


Call Meyer Van Severen for homicide defense. (414) 270-0202

The homicide defense lawyers at Meyer Van Severen are prepared to fight your murder case.  If you’ve been charged with this criminal offense, or any other, we believe that hiring the best Wisconsin criminal defense lawyer is imperative.  Contact our law firm at (414) 270-0202 today to begin discussing your case.