Most people don’t go around looking for someone to kill. When a situation turns bad and someone is killed, homicide charges might be pressed against the person or persons who are responsible for the death. The circumstances surrounding the incident and the death are used to determine if criminal charges will be issued and what those charges will be.

Are all homicides criminal acts?

Not all homicides are criminal acts. Some homicides, such as those that are done to prevent a rape or similar grave bodily harm might not be prosecuted as a criminal act. The criteria for someone accused of homicide to not face prosecution are usually very strict.

What is manslaughter?

Manslaughter charges are less serious than murder charges. There are two main types of manslaughter charges — involuntary and voluntary. Of these two types of homicide charges, involuntary is the least serious. Manslaughter charges are reserved for killings that don’t meet the criteria for murder. A drunk driver who kills someone in an accident might face manslaughter charges.

What is murder?

Murder charges are the most serious charges relating to a death. There are different degrees of murder, with first-degree murder, or capital murder, being the most serious. Convictions on murder charges can lead to very serious penalties, including life in prison. Wisconsin abolished the death penalty in 1853, so unlike states that allow capital punishment, people here who are convicted of capital murder won’t face the death penalty.

A person who is facing manslaughter or murder charges in Wisconsin can be subject to some very serious penalties. It is vital that all defendants understand the options they have for resolving their case so that they can decide how to proceed.

Source: FindLaw, “Homicide Definition,” accessed Oct. 15, 2015