Reckless Homicide: Leveling the Playing Field

Many individuals accused of one crime often find themselves facing other, unexpected charges. When a death is involved, reckless homicide can be one of those charges. You may ask: Is it justice to face multiple criminal charges for the same offense?

When you face confusing reckless homicide charges, it may seem like the legal system is set against you. At Nicholson, Gansner & Otis, S.C., in Madison, we level the playing field. Our attorneys have spent years in the trenches, fighting for the underdogs. We are fearless trial attorneys, passionate about seeking justice and protecting your rights, your future, your freedom.

What Is Reckless Homicide?

Reckless homicide charges are different from intentional homicide (murder) charges. To charge you with intentional homicide (first or second degree intentional homicide), prosecutors must be able to show that you intended to commit murder. This is not the case with reckless homicide. There are two degrees of reckless homicide charges:

  • First-degree reckless homicide: If you allegedly caused another person's death by showing an "utter disregard for human life," you can face first-degree reckless homicide and a Class B felony.
  • Second-degree reckless homicide: This is a Class C felony. The prosecutor must show that you acted recklessly and your reckless behavior caused someone else's death.

Common cases where prosecutors charge individuals with reckless homicide include violent crimes (such as assault), drug crimes and OWI cases.

"Utter disregard" and "recklessness" are difficult legal concepts that are confusing to many, including jurors. That's why it is essential to work with an experienced trial lawyer who knows not only the law, but also how to present your story to jurors in a way that can help them understand your situation.

Reckless Homicide and Drug Charges

In Wisconsin, there has been an increase in reckless homicide charges against people who have supplied heroin (or another illegal drug) to someone who then overdosed and whose death was caused by the drug. That means the supplier can face reckless homicide charges in addition to drug trafficking/distribution charges.

In fact, anyone involved in supplying the drug to the individual who overdosed may face drug-related homicide charges. First-degree reckless homicide caused by the delivery or distribution of a controlled substance is a Class C felony.

Reducing the Impact of Your Criminal Charges

We will explore every option for defending against your reckless homicide or other violent crime charges. In some cases, it is possible to reduce certain violent crime charges down to second-degree reckless homicide, reducing the impact of your criminal charges on your life.

You have the right to defend yourself against these serious charges. Defend yourself well by hiring a defense attorney with an outstanding reputation in and out of court. Call our Madison law firm at 608-620-0018 or contact us online for a free 30 minute initial consultation.