First Degree Reckless Homicide
What is First Degree Reckless Homicide?
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First Degree Reckless Homicide (covered in Section 940.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes) carries a penalty of 60 years in prison. Mitigating circumstances may reduce the penalty to 40 years in prison.
First Degree Reckless Homicide focuses on:
- The murder of other adults
- The murder of an unborn child
- Delivery of drugs resulting in death.
Section 940.02(1) of the Wisconsin Statutes states:
“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.”
A Class B felony carries a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison. The 60 years may consist of 40 years confinement and 20 years of extended supervision. Most often, with the case of an adult killing another adult in reckless circumstances, this will be the charged offense.
Can the First Degree Reckless Homicide case involve an unborn child?
The second item of first-degree reckless homicide that carries a Class B felony is covered in section 940.02(1m) of the Wisconsin Statutes and deals with reckless homicide involving an unborn child:
“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.”
The State of Wisconsin must prove various elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the state can't prove one of the elements of the offense, you can't be convicted of the crime.
- That the defendant caused the death of the victim
- That the defendant caused the death by criminally reckless conduct
- That the circumstances of the defendant’s conduct showed disregard for human life
'Cause' indicates the defendant’s act was a substantial factor in producing the death.
Criminally reckless conduct requires the government to prove three more elements.
- The conduct of the defendant created a risk of death or great bodily harm
- The risk of death or great bodily harm was unreasonable and substantial
- The defendant was aware that his conduct created the unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm
First Degree Reckless Homicide that inolves drugs
In some first-degree reckless homicide cases involving drugs, the murder charge carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison and/or a $100,000.00 fine (Class C felony).
There will be four case elements that the state must prove.
- That the defendant delivered a substance
- That is was a controlled substance
- That the defendant KNEW it was a controlled substance
- That the victim USED the stubstance the defendant delivered and died as a direct result
Important to note is that the defendant doesn't have to be the one that delivered the substance. If it traveled through many people and the victim dies from using the substance, each person involved in delivering the substance is guilty.
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