Call Meyer Van Severen, S.C. for first-degree reckless homicide defense
First-degree reckless homicide is a serious criminal charge to face in Wisconsin. Section 940.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits the crime, and it’s punishable by up to 60 years in prison. A more mitigated version of the offense is punishable by up to 40 years in prison. The maximum penalty depends upon the circumstances of the offense.
Secondly, any case involving murder, manslaughter, or homicide is serious. At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we focus all of our resources on criminal and drunk driving cases. We certainly don’t handle family law cases, or business cases. We won’t write your will. And the reason for that focus is simple: it makes us better criminal defense attorneys. And better criminal defense attorneys achieve better results for you.
Finally, if you face homicide charges, call Meyer Van Severen, S.C. at (414) 270-0202. Quickly hiring a top criminal defense attorney is certainly crucial to your defense.
What is first degree reckless homicide?
First-degree reckless homicide is the kind of criminal charge that carries a few different version. This crime focuses on the murder of other adults, the murder of an unborn child, and delivery of drugs resulting in death.
“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.”
First degree reckless homicide is the homicide charge we most-frequently encounter in criminal court. A Class B felony carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison. Secondly, that 60 years breaks down into 40 years initial confinement and 20 years extended supervision. Frequently, in the case of an adult killing another adult in reckless circumstances, this is the charged offense.
What is the case involves an unborn child?
There’s a second version of first-degree reckless homicide that carries a Class B felony penalty. Section 940.02(1m) of the Wisconsin Statutes deals with reckless homicide involving unborn children. The law indicates:
“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.”
Cases involving the death of an unborn child frequently end up in the media. These cases get the most views and clicks for the media, so it’s likely if your case involves an unborn child, there will be media attention. Media attention certainly shouldn’t change how your defense attorney handles your case. Unfortunately, some criminal defense lawyers have not handled high-profile murder cases and cannot handle the attention. Finally, at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we regularly defend cases covered in the news.
All criminal offenses in Wisconsin include elements that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. An element is a part of an offense. If the government cannot prove one of the elements of the offense, you certainly cannot be convicted of the offense. Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 1020 describes the elements of first degree reckless homicide:
- Firstly, the defendant caused the death of the victim; and
- Secondly, the defendant caused the death by criminally reckless conduct; and
- Thirdly, the circumstances of the defendant’s conduct showed utter disregard for human life.
The term cause means the defendant’s act was a substantial factor in producing the death.
Criminally reckless conduct requires the government prove three more 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 finally
- The defendant was aware that his conduct created the unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm.
To determine whether the circumstances showed utter disregard for human life, jurors are instructed to consider the following factors: what the defendant was doing, why the defendant was engaged in that conduct, how dangerous the conduct was, how obvious the danger was, whether the conduct showed any regard for life, and all other facts and circumstances relating to the conduct. If the government cannot prove utter disregard for human life, frequently they will charge second degree reckless homicide.
Finally, first-degree reckless homicide involving adults and children differ based on the victim. Cases involving an unborn child require that the defendant’s conduct showed utter disregard for the victim, the unborn child, the life of the woman who is pregnant with the unborn child, or another human.