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Contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. to discuss your reckless injury case.

We defend all criminal charges in Wisconsin. Contact us at (414) 270-0202 immediately about your case.

Our criminal defense attorneys regularly defend reckless injury cases.  Whether you’ve been charged with 1st degree reckless injury or 2nd degree reckless injury, we can help you.  Our law firm focuses 100% of its resources on defending criminal charges.  We’ve certainly worked on reckless injury cases.  And we’ve certainly defended thousands of individuals facing serious charges just like yours.

Secondly, we have significant experience defending gun crimes.  Frequently guns are involved in reckless injury cases.  We’ve frequently filed motions and defended those cases through jury trial.  Reckless injury, no matter the level, is a felony.  This makes it even more important to hire top criminal defense counsel.

Finally, we believe that cases like this are best dealt with by defense attorneys at the very top of their field.  Whether you hire one of our partners, Matthew R. Meyer or Benjamin T. Van Severen, or one of our associate attorneys, you’re surely in good hands.


What is reckless injury?

Reckless injury is specifically defined in section 940.23 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  The crime, depending upon the degree, is a Class D or Class F felony.  Criminal defense law firm Meyer Van Severen, S.C. certainly defends both versions of the offense.

First-degree reckless injury

Section 940.23(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits first-degree reckless injury.  The crime occurs under two circumstances:

  1. Whoever recklessly causes great bodily harm to another human being under circumstances which show utter disregard for human life is guilty of a Class D felony; or
  2. Whoever recklessly causes great bodily harm to an unborn child under circumstances which show utter disregard for human life of that unborn child, the woman who is pregnant with that unborn child or another is guilty of a Class D felony.

Second-degree reckless injury

Section 940.23(2) of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits second-degree reckless injury.  The crime occurs under two circumstances:

  1. Whoever recklessly causes great bodily harm to another human being is guilty of a Class F felony; or
  2. Whoever recklessly causes great bodily harm to an unborn child is guilty of a Class F felony.

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What are the elements of the offense?

Wisconsin Jury Instruction Criminal 1250 provides the elements of first degree reckless injury.  We list them below:

  1. The defendant caused great bodily harm to the victim; and
  2. The defendant caused great bodily harm by criminally reckless conduct; and
  3. The circumstances of the defendant’s conduct showed utter disregard for human life.

Wisconsin Jury Instruction Criminal 1252 provides the elements of second degree reckless injury.  We list them below:

  1. The defendant caused great bodily harm to the victim; and
  2. The defendant caused great bodily harm by criminally reckless conduct.

Relevant definitions:

The term “great bodily harm” means an injury which created a substantial risk of death, or which caused serious permanent disfigurement, or which caused a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any body part, or other serious bodily injury.  This definition is provided in section 939.22(14) of the Wisconsin Statutes.

“Criminal recklessness” is defined in section 939.24 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  It means that the defendant creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm to another human being, and the defendant is aware of that risk.


Difference between first and second degree:

Lastly, there’s one main difference between first and second degree reckless injury.  You’ll recall that first degree requires the defendant act “under circumstances which show utter disregard for human life.”  Second degree certainly doesn’t require that.  The judicial counsel note  to section 940.02 explains the difference.  The phrase focuses on “conduct evincing a depraved mind, regardless of human life.”  Caselaw doesn’t further define the phrase.  Instead, it points to Wisconsin Jury Instruction Criminal 1345.  Simply put, the phrase means “utter lack of concern for the life and safety of another.”  Your criminal defense lawyer must understand the complexities of the law if he is going to provide you adequate reckless injury defense.


Police tape off a reckless injury scene
Reckless injury is a serious felony in Wisconsin. Hire a top criminal defense attorney.

Criminal defense law firm Meyer Van Severen, S.C. handles reckless injury defense

Our criminal defense attorneys certainly work on 1st degree reckless injury and 2nd degree reckless injury cases.  Consequently, if you face either charge, contact our law firm immediately.  Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys Matthew R. Meyer and Benjamin Van Severen understand the complexities of criminal law and can argue on your behalf.  Finally, call (414) 270-0202 for a free consultation today.