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Crime of Passion Law Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a crime involving an act made in the heat of passion in which the offender did not have any opportunity to think about what they are doing is considered a crime of passion. A simple example of a crime of passion is when a husband finds his wife in bed with her lover. If the husband then attacks the lover and kills him in a fit of rage, then such an act is called a crime of passion.

Overcome by Emotions

In a crime of passion, the culprit is so overcome by their emotions that even though they did not intend to kill someone, they were unable to control their actions because of the ongoing turmoil in their minds and hearts.

Second Degree Manslaughter

Wisconsin treats a crime of passion as manslaughter. Even though the state lacks a manslaughter statute, the penalties for such crimes are severe. Crimes of passion are classified as manslaughter second-degree crimes. This kind of crime is committed in the heat of passion and without any premeditation.

Second-degree Manslaughter Law in Wisconsin covers any killing in which the offender acts in a fit of passion or anger without being able to calm themselves down. This kind of crime is different than murder as the latter involves cold-blooded killing while the former is a crime committed in the heat of the moment and without any premeditation.

Crime of Passion Law Wisconsin
Extenuating Emotionally Excited State

A person who commits a crime of passion acts under a very extenuating emotionally excited state. This state made him or her act and kill someone without pausing to think about what they were doing. Furthermore, the killing happens because of an event that is so provoking that a regular person in the same situation would act in the same manner. If the culprit had time to ponder their actions and cool down, then their crime will not be treated as a crime of passion.

Basic Elements of a Crime of Passion

Wisconsin crime of passion law is governed by section 940.05. According to this section, a crime of passion has a few basic elements. These include:

  • adequate provocation.
  • unnecessary defensive force.
  • preventing a Felony.
  • coercion or necessity.

Adequate Provocation

Adequate provocation implies that the killing occurred directly on account of the provocation which could be something like finding your spouse in bed with someone else. Adequate in this case implies sufficient enough to make a person lose control over their actions which an ordinary person would not do. Provocation implies something a defendant reasonably believes the intended victim did and which led to the defendant losing their self-control when the act was committed.

Unnecessary Defensive Force

Unnecessary defensive force is when that offender believed that they were about to be killed or grievously injured and acted to defend themselves.

Prevention of a Felony

Prevention of a Felony means the defendant killed someone thinking that force was required to prevent or halt a Felony.

Crime of Passion Law Wisconsin
Coercion or Necessity

Coercion or necessity implies that the defendant reasonably believed that the only option available to them to prevent their own demise or serious physical injury was to kill the assailant. The law in Wisconsin states that coercion involves a threat by a person who is not the defendant’s co-conspirator. Necessity, on the other hand, implies that the crime was committed to preventing an impending disaster or death or serious physical injury. Wisconsin law states that necessity is the pressure of a physical force that makes the defendant reasonably believe that their act is the only option available to them to prevent their death or serious physical injury.

Penalty for Crimes of Passion in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, a crime of passion will be dealt with seriously. It is considered a Class B Felony and is punishable by up to sixty years in prison. However, this crime does not invite any fines. The quantum of punishment depends on various factors including the actual language of the concerned law. In addition, aggravating factors and mitigating factors are also taken into consideration at the time of handing down the sentence.

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