OWI Homicide Charges in Wisconsin: Protect Your Rights
Under the Wisconsin Criminal Code, what is colloquially known as vehicular manslaughter is called Homicide by Intoxicated Use of Vehicle. Wisconsin Statute § 940.09(1)(a) states OWI Homicide is committed by whoever “[c]auses the death of another by the operation or handling of a vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant.”
OWI Homicide Penalties
The maximum penalties for an OWI Homicide depend on whether the driver has any prior OWI offenses. For a driver with no prior OWI convictions, an OWI Homicide is classified as a Class D felony punishable by up to 25 years of imprisonment (15 years initial confinement/10 years extended supervision). For a driver with a prior OWI conviction, however, the offense of OWI Homicide is classified as a Class C felony punishable by up to 40 years of imprisonment (25 years initial confinement/15 years extended supervision).
In addition to these significant penalties, if more than one death results, then each death caused by the intoxicated driver’s negligence is chargeable as a separate offense carrying additional penalties. This includes the death of an unborn child.
Defense against OWI Homicide Charges
While OWI Homicide is always a tragedy, it is not always a crime. In any action under the OWI Homicide statute, the defendant has a defense if he or she proves the death would have occurred even if he or she had been exercising due care and had not been under the influence of an intoxicant, did not have a detectable amount of a restricted controlled substance in their blood, or did not have a prohibited alcohol concentration.
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Wisconsin’s Top OWI Homicide Defense Attorneys
Given the significant consequences of OWI Homicide in Wisconsin, it is important to hire an experienced OWI lawyer to protect your legal rights. Schedule a free consultation with our criminal defense attorneys to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.