In the legal system, not all homicide charges are created equal. Varying circumstances can affect how a case is treated, how the specific charge is determined and the sentence an individual receives. And, in some cases, certain evidence can lessen the severity of an initial charge.

For example, did you know that, while many cases are presented as first-degree homicides, they often result in a lesser-included conviction when all is said and done. This can happen for two reasons: if some, but not all, of the necessary facts can be proven according to a unanimous jury decision, or if the offense is designated by statute, such as in the case of a criminal homicide less serious than the one charged according to state statute.

The lesser-included types of homicide are as follows:

  • Second-degree intentional homicide. In this case, a defendant presents evidence of mitigating circumstances (such as acting in self-defense or after provocation by the victim) that can’t be disproven beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • First- and Second-Degree Reckless Homicide: These cases remove intention from the equation. So, if a person is charged with a first-degree intentional homicide, the conviction would be reduced to first- or second-degree reckless homicide if the prosecutor can’t prove the defendant’s intention was to kill. The jury would then need to determine if it’s first- or second-degree status.

If you’re facing homicide charges in Wisconsin, an experienced criminal defense attorney can explore every option to prove your innocence or see if a lesser-included offense can lower your sentence. Contact Huppertz & Powers, S.C. today to schedule a free first meeting and find out how we can build the best possible defense in your case.

 

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