Second Degree Intentional Homicide

Second Degree Intentional Homicide is defined in section 940.05 of the Criminal Code of Wisconsin.  Second Degree Intentional Homicide is simply a lesser charge than First Degree Intentional Homicide, in fact it is a “lesser included offense” of First Degree Intentional Homicide.  Juries may convict on Second Degree if they believe that the Defendant unreasonably believed that Self Defense was appropriate.  See “self defense”, in this site for a deeper discussion of how a Defendant might defend against First Degree Homicide charges in Wisconsin.  The elements of Second Degree Intentional Homicide are:

  • The Defendant caused the death of another person.
  • The Defendant acted with the intent to kill that person.
  • The Defendant did not “reasonably” believe that s/he was terminating or preventing an unlawful interference with his/her person or did not “reasonably” believe that the force used was necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself/herself. This is an important distinction, because while a Defendant might “actually” believe that s/he was acting “reasonably”, the jury might disagree without a vigorous argument from his/her Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer.

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