Serious Crimes: An Overview
The law provides a distinct category for what are viewed as being 'serious crimes' by legal definition. A 'serious crime' carries a felony charge, with penalties that include imprisonment at a state or federal penitentiary; the crimes usually involve recklessness, malice, or negligence.
Homicide charges are categorized as a serious crime because of the circumstances of the crime. Whenever one person causes the death of another person, a homicide has been committed.
A person is charged with Criminal Homicide when the facts apparent to the policing authorities indicate that the person killed another person with a criminal state of mind, meaning with intent, premeditation, knowledge, recklessness, or criminal negligence.
A Deliberate Homicide charge indicates that the police believe the homicide to have been purposely or knowingly committed.
An Excusable Homicide charge indicates that the police believe that the homicide was committed by accident or misfortune by a person doing lawful acts by lawful means with usual and ordinary caution, but without any unlawful intent.
Justifiable Homicide indicates that the homicide was committed in self-defense, or in the defense of another person, especially a member of one's own family, or in the defense of the person's residence, or to prevent a felony, especially if the felony would have caused great bodily harm, or in performing a legal duty. Such charges are justified and excused under the law, with no criminal punishment imposed.
A Negligent Homicide charge indicates the belief that the homicide was committed by a person acting criminally negligent (i.e., Ordinary Negligence to a higher degree).
Reckless Homicide charges indicate that the person committing the homicide did so during reckless acts.
Vehicular Homicide is charged when it is believed that that the homicide was committed by the use of a motorized vehicle, such as a car, plane, or boat.
Murder: First Degree
The charge of First-Degree Murder indicates that it is believed that the person committing murder did so willfully, having premeditated the act.
Murder: Second Degree
The charge of Second-Degree Murder indicates that it is believed that the homicide was committed intentionally, but without planning or premeditation, or by dangerous conduct and an obvious disregard for human life.
In general, sexual assault refers to any crime in which the offender subjects a victim to sexual touching that is unwanted and offensive.
Battery, in general, is committed when one person initiates an harmful or offensive touching, done without that person's consent, and which causes that person pain.
First-Degree Sexual Assault is a Class B felony. The charge is made against a person, who then becomes known as the alleged offender, when the policing authorities find their evidence to indicate that sexual contact or sexual intercourse occurred by the alleged offender against a victim, without the victim's consent, and the offender:
- Impregnated the victim, or
- Caused the victim great bodily harm, or
- Used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon or any article that led the victim to believe it to be a dangerous weapon, or
- Was aided by one or more other persons by use or threat of force or violence.
Second-Degree Sexual Assault is a Class C felony. The charge is made against a person, who then becomes known as the alleged offender, when the policing authorities find their evidence to indicate that sexual contact or sexual intercourse occurred by the alleged offender against a victim, without the victim's consent, and the offender:
- Used or threatened to use force or violence, or
- Caused injury, illness, disease, or impairment of a sexual or reproductive organ, or mental anguish requiring psychiatric care for the victim, or
- Knew that the victim suffered from a mental illness or deficiency which rendered that person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the conduct, even with consent, or
- Knew that the victim was under the influence of an intoxicant to a degree which rendered the victim incapable of appraising the conduct, even with consent, or
- Knew the victim was unconscious, even with consent, or
- Was aided by one or more other persons, or
- Is an employee of a facility or certain programs and the victim is a patient or resident of that facility or program, even if the victim is incarcerated for a sexual misconduct.
Third-Degree Sexual Assault is a Class G felony and is charged whenever a person has sexual intercourse with a person without the consent of that person.
Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault is a Class A misdemeanor.
Attorney Stephen E. Mays practices in all areas of criminal and traffic defense throughout the entire State of Wisconsin. If you have been charged with drunk driving (DUI, OWI, or DWI), call drunk driving defense attorney Stephen E. Mays today for a free case review.