In Wisconsin, First-Degree Reckless Homicide is a Class B Felony. The maximum penalty is up to 60 years in prison. If, however, you are charged with First-Degree Reckless Homicide because the government accuses you of manufacturing or delivering a controlled substance, you can be charged with a Class C Felony, which has a maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison and/or a $100,000.00 fine.
In order to be found guilty of First-Degree Reckless Homicide, the State must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The first element that the State must prove is that you caused the death of another human. Next, the State must prove that you acted recklessly, meaning (1) your conduct created a risk of death or great bodily harm to another person; (2) that risk was both unreasonable and substantial; and (3) you were aware of that risk at the time of your actions. Finally, the State must prove that your aactions at the time showed utter disregard for human life. The state can prove this element by showing that your conduct demonstrated “a depraved mind, regardless of life.” State v. Dolan, 44 Wis. 2d 68 (1969).
One defense against First-Degree Reckless Homicide is that your actions did not cause the death of another person. This defense depens on the facts and circumstances of your case. In “Len Bias” or drug overdose cases, for example, a toxicology report may demonstrate dangerously-high levelsof drugs in the deceased person’s system at the time of death such that it may be scientifically unknown whether the drug believed to be delivered by a specific person was a substantial factor in causing the person’s death. It is not uncommon for a person addicted to drugs to consume high levels of multiple dangerous drugs from different sources, including drug dealers, friends and pharmacies. A second potential defense is that you did not act recklessly, meaning that your conduct did not create the dangerous situation; the risk that you did create was not unreasonable or substantial or you were unaware of the severity of the risk at the time. A third potenital defense is that your conduct did not show an utter disregard for human life. Our firm collaborates with leading experts in fields such as toxicology (the science of how potential toxins such as drugs affect the human body), narcotics trafficking, the use of force in self-defense, and accident reconstuction to objectively analyze the physical and forensic evidence to provide the best possible advice to our clients on the strength of their potential defenses. Because each defense can depend on specific facts of each case, which can mean a defense may apply in one case but not another similar case, it is important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you evaluate the strength of your possible defenses. Please contact an attorney at our firm for a consultation and we look forward to discussing your case in detail.