Milwaukee Murder Defense Lawyers

If you’re facing murder charges and need help building your defense, contact Hart Powell, S.C. immediately. Our legal team will work hard to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. We know your future is at stake, and we’ll do everything in our power to get the charges reduced, or the case dismissed. We believe everyone deserves a second chance, and we won’t give up until we reach your legal goals.

When you’re looking at a possible prison sentence, it can be overwhelming and frightening. Our legal team will provide you with the guidance and support you need to get through this difficult period in your life. You can count on your Milwaukee homicide defense lawyer to create the right defense strategy to prove your innocence or discount the prosecution’s arguments.

To find out more about our legal services or schedule your free consultation, call Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595.

Murder and Homicide

Although sometimes used interchangeably, murder and homicide are different charges and come with different penalties. Murder is a form of homicide; however, it’s considered a crime in Wisconsin, while homicide is unnatural death and isn’t always a criminal offense.

Felony murder is the act of causing another person’s death while attempting to commit or committing another felony. The purpose of this charge is to enhance the penalties the offender is already facing for the other acts they committed. For example, felony murder could add extra years to a prison sentence if any of the following crimes contributed to the death:

  • Sexual assault
  • Arson
  • Burglary
  • Kidnapping
  • Forceful auto theft
  • Battery
  • Any crime involving a dangerous weapon, explosives, or arson

Neither recklessness nor intent is a requirement to face a conviction for this offense. Your conduct must have been enough of a substantial factor in causing the victim’s death for it to be considered felony murder.

Unintentional homicide falls under two main subcategories:

Intentional homicide involves causing the death of another person or unborn child with the intent to kill them or someone else.

How Hart Powell, S.C. Can Fight Your Murder Charge

When you hire us, your Milwaukee murder defense attorney will begin the process of building your defense. This is a complex process and takes time to find the right strategy. We know the steps we need to take to secure your freedom and find a way to get the charges against you dropped or reduced.

Investigate. We’ll begin by thoroughly investigating the details of your case. We will look at the elements of the prosecutor’s theories to find weaknesses to point out during the trial. We can also bring in experts, such as medical providers, forensic investigators, and other individuals, to look for conflicting witness statements or issues with physical evidence.

File motion to dismiss. If we believe any of the charges filed against you are inappropriate for the offense you allegedly committed, we’ll file a motion to get them dismissed. Sometimes, this can result in getting your entire case thrown out by the judge.

File motion to suppress evidence. When law enforcement is performing its own investigation, they might obtain evidence illegally. If they didn’t present a search warrant, any incriminating evidence they found would be inadmissible in court.

Speak to witnesses. We’ll interview anyone who saw what happened. Sometimes, people provide the wrong information at first and remember other details that can exonerate someone of their murder charges. We’ll ask them detailed questions about their version of events to determine if you were falsely identified or accused.

Create defenses. There are various defenses used in a murder case. We’ll determine the best options and gather the right evidence to present at trial.

The Penalties You Might Face for a Murder Conviction

If you’re convicted of a murder charge, you could spend time in prison and be forced to pay hefty fines. You’ll also likely lose your job and ruin your reputation within your community. It can affect your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. It’s something that upends your entire life and creates an uncertain future.

Wisconsin issues harsh sentences for those convicted of murder:

  • Felony murder: 15-year prison sentence on top of penalties for other felonies committed that contributed to the victim’s death.
  • Vehicular homicide: Maximum of 25 years in prison and up to $100,000 in fines. Enhanced sentencing of up to 40 years in prison if the offender already has at least one DWI conviction prior to the crime.
  • Intentional homicide: Life sentence for a first-degree offense. Maximum of 60 years in prison for a second-degree offense.

Common Defenses Used in Murder Cases

Hart Powell, S.C. has been defending individuals facing murder convictions since 1993. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to give our clients the best chance to walk free or serve a reduced sentence.

The most common defenses we could use include:

Self-defense: This would apply if you believed you were in danger of severe bodily harm, death, or rape and had to use physical force to protect yourself.

Defending another person: If you thought it was necessary to use physical force to prevent another person from death, severe bodily injury, or rape, this would be an adequate defense to use.

Preventing a serious crime: Sometimes, there’s a situation where a serious crime is about to occur, such as a terrorist attack, and you must act with physical force to stop it from happening.

Innocent: The simplest defense is to claim you’re innocent of the charges against you. We’ll look for an alibi or find a way to discount witness testimony or evidence that the prosecutor found.

Violation of your rights. If the investigating officers violated your rights in any way during the arrest process, we could file a motion to suppress the evidence they found so it can’t be used against you in court. A common violation is an illegal search and seizure whereby law enforcement fails to get a search warrant before entering someone’s home or searching their car.

Insanity. It’s possible you weren’t in the right frame of mind at the time of the offense. You might not have had knowledge of or the mental capacity to understand what you were doing and that it was illegal.

What to Expect After Your Arrest

There’s a legal process you must go through after getting arrested for a crime. It typically begins with an arrest. Either an officer sees you committing a crime and arrests you on the spot, or a judge issues a warrant for your arrest.

Initial appearance. You’ll stand before a judge to hear the charges against you and the bond amount.

Preliminary hearing. During this stage, you and your Milwaukee murder defense lawyer will hear the kind of evidence the prosecution found. They must show probable cause that you committed the offense. If they’re successful, your case will continue moving forward. If they’re unable to show probable cause, we might be able to get the case dismissed or reduce your charges.

Scheduling conference. The judge will schedule a date for trial proceedings to begin, or we can attempt to reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor. In exchange for pleading guilty, we could negotiate for a lesser sentence. This will depend entirely on the facts of your case and what we believe would be the best decision to make.

Trial. If we can’t negotiate a fair plea deal, we’ll begin preparing for trial. At this stage, we’ll need to continue gathering relevant evidence, find witnesses to testify on your behalf, and create an argument that disproves the prosecution’s case. It’s up to them to prove you’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s our job to instill doubt in the minds of the jury.

Hart Powell, S.C. Is Ready to Advocate for Your Freedom

We know you’re facing an uphill battle. It’s a challenging legal road ahead, and you’ll need the assistance of an experienced and dedicated Milwaukee murder defense lawyer. You can depend on us to remain by your side throughout the entire process. We’ll provide legal advice, guidance, and support to help you get through this. We understand state laws and how to effectively defend our clients against murder charges.

At Hart Powell, S.C., we have a team of legal professionals who will fight hard for your rights. Over the past 25 years, we’ve become well-known in our community for the compassionate and dependable representation we provide. We’re available 24/7, so you can reach us whenever you need us. You won’t be alone during this stressful situation.

If you were arrested or charged with murder, call Hart Powell, S.C. today at (414) 271-9595. You can meet with a Milwaukee murder defense lawyer for a free consultation. There’s no risk in discussing your case and receiving valuable advice about your legal options. We’ll begin working on your case immediately and find a way to get the charges dropped so you can move forward with your life.

Written by Michael Hart & Craig Powell

Last Updated : September 5, 2023