Call Meyer Van Severen, S.C. for first-degree reckless homicide defense

First-degree reckless homicide is prohibited by section 940.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  This murder charge carries with it different maximum penalties based on the circumstances.  Depending on those circumstances, first-degree reckless murder is either a Class B or Class C felony.  Any case involving murder, manslaughter, or homicide is serious.  At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we focus on providing our clients smart, focused criminal defense representation.  Attorneys Meyer and Van Severen have both worked on high-profile murder cases.  If you’ve been charged with murder, manslaughter, or homicide, contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202.


 What is first-degree reckless homicide?

There are a few different version of first-degree reckless homicide.  This criminal charge deals with the murder of other adults, the murder of an unborn child, delivery of drugs resulting in death, and death after assisting another with administering certain drugs.

“Whoever recklessly causes the death of another human being under circumstances which show utter disregard for human life is guilty of a Class B felony.”  Wis. Stat. sec. 940.02(1).  This is the version of reckless homicide we most often encounter in criminal court.

There’s a second version of first-degree reckless homicide that carries a Class B felony penalty.  “Whoever recklessly causes the death of an unborn child under circumstances that show utter disregard for the life of that unborn child, the woman who is pregnant with that unborn child or another” is guilty of the offense.

Both of these offenses require that the defendant cause the death of the victim.  The term “cause” means the defendant’s act was a substantial factor in producing the death.  The second element in both offenses is that the defendant caused the death by criminally reckless conduct.  The term “criminally reckless conduct” requires three individual elements:

  • The conduct of the defendant created a risk of death or great bodily harm to the victim;
  • The risk of death or great bodily harm was unreasonable and substantial; and
  • The defendant was aware that his conduct created the unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm.

The third element in both first-degree reckless homicide is similar but differs based on the victim.  They require that the circumstances of the defendant’s conduct showed utter disregard for either 1) the victim; 2) the life of the unborn child; 3) the life of the woman who is pregnant with unborn child; or 4) the life of another.


 First-degree reckless homicide involving drugs

Not all first-degree reckless homicide cases carry Class B felony penalties.  In certain cases involving drugs, this murder charge carries with it a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and/or a $100,000.00 fine (Class C felony).

That version of first-degree reckless homicide has four elements that must be proven at trial.  They include:

  1. The defendant delivered a substance;
  2. The substance was a controlled substance;
  3. The defendant knew or believed that the substance was the controlled substance; and
  4. The victim used the substance alleged to have been delivered by the defendant and died as a result of that use.

The defendant isn’t required to have actually delivered the substance directly to the victim.  Additionally, if possession of the substance knew that the substance was transferred once before it was used by the victim, each person who transferred possession of the substance is deemed to have delivered it.


Why should I hire Meyer Van Severen, S.C. for my homicide case?

At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we strive to provide you the best homicide defense.  Murder charges are serious, and your criminal defense attorney needs to take your case seriously.  Constitutional issues, like whether search warrants are valid and whether Miranda rights were property recited are important.  And spotting those issues is crucial to provide you the best criminal defense representation.  If you’re serious about your murder case, contact us immediately at (414) 270-0202.