Wisconsin has two types of vehicular homicide: “homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle” and “homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.” Homicide by negligent operation is aptly defined as causing the death of another through criminally negligent operation or handling of a vehicle. And homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle is where a motorist kills another person while driving intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
Criminal negligence. A person acts with criminal negligence by doing something the person should realize creates a substantial and unreasonable risk of death or great bodily harm to another person.
Intoxicated. For purpose of the vehicular homicide statute, “intoxicated” means the driver:
This definition is the same as that for Wisconsin’s driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws.
(Wis. Stat. Ann. § § 939.25, 940.09, 940.10 (2017).)
The consequences of a Wisconsin vehicular homicide conviction depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties include:
A vehicular homicide conviction leads to a license revocation of at least one year. And, depending on the situation, the driver may have to install an ignition interlock device (IID).
(Wis. Stat. Ann. § § 343.31, 343.301, 940.09, 940.10, 939.50 (2017).)
HOW MUCH TIME WOULD YOU ACTUALLY SPEND IN JAIL?
Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior and jail-alternative work programs.
If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.
A vehicular homicide conviction can have serious consequences. If you’ve been arrested for vehicular homicide—or any other crime—get in contact with a criminal defense attorney right away. The facts of every case are different. An experienced defense attorney can explain how the law applies to the facts of your case and help you decide on the best course of action.