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Bucher Law Group, LLC

What Is First-Degree or Second-Degree Homicide in Wisconsin?

 Posted on October 24, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Untitled---2023-10-24T125059.470.jpgIn the state of Wisconsin, homicide is a serious crime that involves the intentional and unlawful killing of another person. However, not all homicides are treated equally under the law. The severity of the offense and the potential penalties that may apply if a person is convicted will depend on whether it is classified as first-degree or second-degree homicide. Those who have been accused of murder or homicide will need to make sure they have representation from an attorney who has experience defending against these types of criminal charges.

First-Degree Homicide

First-degree homicide is considered the most serious form of murder in Wisconsin. It involves intentionally killing someone with premeditation and deliberation. That is, anyone who causes someone else’s death when they had intended to kill them or someone else may be charged with first-degree homicide.

Wisconsin also defines the offense of first-degree reckless homicide. This offense may apply if a person causes someone else’s death by acting recklessly or negligently and showing an “utter disregard for human life.” For example, a person who was driving a vehicle at a high speed through a residential area may be charged with first-degree reckless homicide if they struck and killed a pedestrian, since they should have been aware that their actions were likely to result in serious injuries or death.

First-degree homicide is a Class A felony. A person who is convicted may be sentenced to life in prison. First-degree reckless homicide is a Class B felony. A conviction may result in a sentence of up to 60 years in prison

Second-Degree Homicide

Second-degree homicide generally refers to intentional killings that involve certain mitigating circumstances. These mitigating circumstances may include:

  • Provocation: If the victim of murder behaved in a way that affected the perpetrator’s self-control and caused them to act out of anger or fear, an offense may be reduced from first-degree homicide to second-degree homicide.

  • Self-defense involving unnecessary force: People are allowed to use deadly force to defend themselves or others from being killed or suffering great bodily harm. However, if a person killed someone when they did not have reason to believe that self-defense was necessary, they may be charged with second-degree homicide.

  • Unnecessary force to prevent a felony: Deadly force may be allowed to prevent someone from committing a felony offense. However, killing someone without the reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary may result in second-degree homicide charges.

  • Coercion: A person who is coerced or threatened into killing someone else may be charged with second-degree homicide.

Second-degree homicide is generally charged as a Class B felony. Wisconsin also recognizes the offense of second-degree reckless homicide, which may apply if a person caused someone else’s death by acting recklessly or negligently. This offense is a Class D felony, and it carries a sentence of up to 25 years in prison, as well as fines of up to $100,000.

Contact an Experienced Ozaukee County Homicide Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know is facing charges related to first-degree or second-degree homicide in Wisconsin, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced criminal defense attorney who has experience representing clients in these types of cases. A skilled Dodge County murder defense attorney can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime, build a strong defense strategy, and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

At Bucher Law Group, LLC, we understand the gravity of these charges, and we are here to provide you with the aggressive, dedicated legal representation you need. Our team has extensive experience defending clients who have been accused of serious crimes like murder. We offer free consultations where we can discuss your case in detail and provide guidance on how best to proceed. To schedule your free consultation, please contact us at 262-303-4916.

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