A homicide charge is extremely serious – it’s a felony. If the court convicts you of homicide, you’ll go to prison. The law separates homicide into separate degrees (namely, first and second), and the punishments are different for each.
But in some cases, it’s possible to defend someone against homicide charges. First, though, you need to know the differences between first-degree and second-degree homicide.
First-Degree Homicide vs. Second-Degree Homicide
Intentionally causing someone else’s death is charged as homicide in the Wisconsin judicial system.
First-degree homicide is a Class A felony and involves causing the death of another human being with the intent to do so. (Often, the key in first-degree homicide is premeditation; you thought about it and planned it before you did it.) If the court convicts you, you’re facing a mandatory life sentence in prison.
Second-degree homicide is a Class B felony and involves causing the death of another human being, but without premeditation. If the court convicts you, the judge will sentence you to at least 60 years in prison (and he or she will add more time if you’re convicted of other felonies, too).
Defenses Against Homicide Charges
While there’s never any way to predict how a judge will rule, your homicide defense lawyer may be able to defend you against murder charges.
If you’ve been charged with first-degree intentional homicide, your lawyer may be able to change the charge to second-degree intentional homicide by claiming:
- Adequate provocation (saying the victim provoked you into losing self-control),
- Unnecessary defense force (saying the victim was a threat and would have caused mortal harm to you or someone else, and killing the victim was the only reasonable choice you had)
- Prevention of a felony
There are other ways you and your lawyer may plan your defense, too, because every case is different.
Do You Need to Talk to a Milwaukee Attorney About Homicide Charges?
If you need to talk to a lawyer about homicide charges, we may be able to help you.
Call us at 414-383-6700 for a free homicide case review right now. We’ll answer all your questions and begin building a strategic defense that gets you the best possible outcome.