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How does the law define reckless injury?

The common thought amongst most in West Bend is likely that in order for a crime to be committed, there has to be a certain level of intent. So what happens if you injure someone when you didn’t intend to? Could you still be charged with a crime? The answer may depend on the nature of your conduct that led to another person sustaining an injury.

The penalties that you may face for injuries that you may have caused where there was potentially no intent to harm are spelled out in Section 940.23 of the Wisconsin state statutes. The law refers to this particular type of crime specifically as “reckless injury.” According to the statute, if you recklessly cause harm to another person or an unborn baby, you could be charged with a Class F felony. The category of felony is elevated to a Class D if it is determined that your actions showed an “utter disregard for human life.”

However, in order for this statute to be applied to your case, certain legal definitions must first be meet. Wisconsin law defines “criminal recklessness” as acts that you know cause an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or serious injury to another. Thus, if your actions were indeed accidental, then it may be difficult to apply this standard to your case.

If it is determined that you did display recklessness, then it must still be shown you displayed little regard for human life in order to be charged with first degree reckless injury. The law states that to prove such a state of mind, it must be shown that not only did you have no regard for the life of another, but that you also had no regard for your own moral or social duties as a human being. 

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