CHARGED WITH HOMICIDE?

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THE FACTS ABOUT HOMICIDE

  • The State must prove 2 elements:

    1. That you “caused” the death of the victim
    2. That you “intended” to kill the victim

    The first element requires that some cause and effect existed between the death of the victim and your actions. Before this cause and effect can be established, it must appear that your actions were a substantial factor in the resulting death.

    The second element requires that you acted with intent to kill the victim. Under the Criminal Code, the phrase “with intent to kill” means that you had the mental purpose to take the life of another human being, or you were aware that your conduct was “practically certain” to cause the death of another human being.

    Wisconsin penalties for 1st Degree Intentional Homicide:

    • Mandatory life sentence (eligible for Extended Supervision after 20 years if decided by the court)
  • Second degree intentional homicide, a Class B felony, is the intentional killing of another person or unborn child without premeditation and deliberation (2nd Degree Intentional Homicide is often referred to as manslaughter). This is commonly known as a “heat of passion” crime that includes the presence of “adequate provocation, unnecessary defensive force, and prevention of a felony or coercion.” These mitigating factors differentiate this offense from 1st Degree Intentional Homicide but fall short of the complete defenses of self-defense, coercion, etc.

    Wisconsin penalty for 2nd Degree Intentional Homicide:

    • 60 years in prison
  • The State must prove the following elements:

    1. The defendant caused the death of named victim.
    2. The defendant caused the death by criminally reckless conduct.

    “Cause” means that the defendant’s act was a substantial factor in the resulting death.

    “Criminally reckless conduct” means:

    • the conduct created a risk of death or great bodily harm to another person; and
    • the risk of death or great bodily harm was unreasonable and substantial; and
    • the defendant was aware that (his)(her) conduct created the unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm.
  • Vehicular homicide is causing the death of another person by use of a motorized vehicle such as a car, truck, or a semi-truck.

  • Intoxicated Vehicular Homicide is causing the death of another person by use of a motorized vehicle while the operator of the vehicle is under the influence of alcohol, drugs or some other intoxicant. This crime is sometimes referred to as death by use of a motor vehicle, drunken vehicular homicide, drunk driving homicide or drunk driving manslaughter. It is a defense to this charge to prove that the death would have occurred even if you had been exercising “due care” and weren’t intoxicated.

  • The State must prove the following 3 elements:

    1. The defendant operated a vehicle.
    2. The defendant’s operation of a vehicle caused the death of named victim.
    3. The defendant had a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in his or her blood at the time the defendant operated a vehicle.
  • Homicide law has many facets and defenses, but an important one to remember is the “felony murder rule.” If you and others are robbing a bank, for example, and one or more of you is armed and someone is killed, you will be held liable for a homicide committed in this situation even if the actual act was done by someone else. Similar to a conspiracy, you are liable for all of the “natural and probable consequences” of the felony you and the others are committing.

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