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Reckless homicide definition, examples and sentence

Reckless Homicide

Reckless homicide is a serious felonious offense in the United States and many countries which attracts imprisonment if found guilty. In this article, we delve deep into the term and the circumstances that would warrant a such a charge, and discuss in detail, the sentence for a guilty verdict.

Reckless homicide definition

It is a form of involuntary manslaughter where a person’s reckless conduct results in the loss of a human life. It is easy to confuse same with criminal negligence but they differ in the behavior which resulted in the death.

“Reckless” means a situation in which the defendant was aware of the risk created by his conduct and the risk was of such a nature and degree that to disregard that risk constituted a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in such a situation.

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Reckless Homicide Examples

A typical example of reckless homicide of is when a person in possession of a firearm in public recklessly fire it and it result’s in the loss of human life in the process.

Another example is when a person sells illicit drugs to another who overdoses on the particular drug which results in his death. The one who sold the drug will likely be charged concurrently with other drug trafficking charges by the prosecutor.

Reckless homicide penalty

The US federal sentencing guidelines in §2A1.4. prescribes the application of the maximum sentence for Involuntary Manslaughter when it is determined that a person is guilty of reckless homicide. A person faces 22 years in prison if convicted.

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Judges are however advised to give the minimum sentence for manslaughter when it is determined that it was criminal negligence. A person faces 12 years in prison if convicted.

Reckless homicide Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the offense of first degree reckless homicide is a Class B felony and is defined as the reckless disregard for human life in a circumstance that leads to death of another person.

The sentence when convicted of first degree reckless homicide in Wisconsin is a term of imprisonment of up to 60 years.

What is Criminal Negligence?

The US federal sentencing committee defines a “Criminally negligent” act as conduct that involves a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the circumstances, but which is not reckless. Offenses with this characteristic usually will be encountered as assimilative crimes.

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Difference between Reckless Homicide and Criminal Negligence

In simple terms, criminal negligence is when a person is oblivious of the consequences of their actions but such an action result’s in the loss of a life, but as explained, a reckless homicide involves the reckless behavior that takes the life of another.

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