Homicide crimes are serious offenses that carry heavy penalties. If you have been charged with such a crime in Phoenix, whether it be vehicular homicide or other murder charge, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced Phoenix homicide lawyer as soon as possible. Contact AZ Defenders today. We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to effectively pursue the best possible outcome for you after being charged with a violent crime.
A conviction for murder in Arizona carries life-changing penalties – and could even cost you your life under the state’s death penalty. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights is essential during this difficult time. You need an attorney to protect your best interests during negotiations with the prosecution and/or a criminal trial in Maricopa County to achieve the best possible results for your case.
If you cannot afford to hire a private defense lawyer, the courts in Arizona will appoint a public defender for you. A public defender, however, typically will not have the same amount of time or resources to put toward your case as a private attorney. This could compromise your defense and lead to a negative case outcome. With so much at stake, don’t risk your future – hire an exceptional criminal defense attorney to represent you.
Homicide crimes are criminal offenses related to homicide or the death of a person deliberately or unlawfully caused by another. According to Arizona crime statistics, there were at least 331 reported murders in 2018, with 274 people arrested. There are several types of homicide, including:
At AZ Defenders, our Phoenix homicide attorneys have decades of experience handling homicide and murder charges, including negligent homicide, manslaughter, first- and second-degree murder. Contact us immediately if you or a loved one has been charged with homicide.
Under Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1102, a person commits negligent homicide if, with criminal negligence, he or she causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, at any stage of its development in the womb. Negligent homicide is a class four felony and is typically punishable with prison time. A person may not be prosecuted under this section if:
While a negligent homicide charge is very similar to a manslaughter charge, manslaughter involves a “recklessness” standard that requires a gross deviation from a standard of conduct. A “negligence” standard involves a gross deviation from a standard of care. Generally, a negligent homicide charge does not carry as high a punishment as a manslaughter charge. Learn more about each criminal charge by consulting with a top homicide defense attorney in Phoenix.
Pursuant to ARS Section 13-1103, manslaughter is a class two felony. A person commits manslaughter by:
Manslaughter charges can also include vehicular manslaughter. This type of manslaughter charge occurs usually when a person is drunk driving or driving under the influence and kills someone. Vehicular manslaughter is a criminal offense that falls under vehicular crimes and is categorized as a class two felony, which is generally punishable with prison time. The standard plea bargain for a manslaughter charge is 7-12 years in prison. Whether you are facing a voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charge, speak with a skilled Phoenix homicide attorney also experienced in DUI defense at the law firm of AZ Defenders.
Arizona law on second degree murder is covered under ARS Section 13-1104. This crime is a class one felony and is punishable with prison time; however, a criminal charge of second-degree murder is not eligible for the death penalty. A person commits second-degree murder if, without premeditation, he or she:
Second-degree murder is a killing that is committed in the absence of planning and in the spur of the moment. A second-degree murder charge differs from a manslaughter charge in that while it is also a spur of the moment killing, it occurs while a person is under an intense heat of passion. No such influence occurs in a second-degree killing.
As stated in ARS Section 13-1105, first-degree murder is a class one felony punishable by life imprisonment or death. This violent crime is committed when, intending or knowing that his or her conduct will cause death, a person, with premeditation, causes the death of another person, including an unborn child; causes the death of a person, acting alone or with one or more persons, while in the process of committing any of a number of specific crimes; or intentionally or knowingly causes the death of a law enforcement officer acting in the line of duty.
In most cases, a defendant can only be convicted of murder if the prosecution proves that the defendant acted with intent to kill or reckless indifference to human life. In Arizona, however, the felony murder rule states that a defendant can be charged with first-degree murder for committing a dangerous felony crime that results in death, even if the defendant was not the victim’s killer.
This rule only applies to crimes that are classified as inherently dangerous, meaning they come with a foreseeable risk of fatal consequences. If convicted, this crime comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. Examples of dangerous felony crimes include:
If the elements of the underlying felony are concurrent with the elements of murder, the felony murder rule will not apply (such as in a case of assault). If an individual engaged in a dangerous felony crime that resulted in a death, he or she could face murder charges even without directly killing the victim(s). If you are being held responsible for the fatal consequences of a dangerous felony crime, contact a homicide defense attorney immediately, as you may receive a murder conviction without the prosecution needing to prove intent to kill.
Crafting a strong and aggressive defense strategy is something that an experienced attorney can do for you if you are facing homicide or murder charges in Phoenix. You need a lawyer you can trust to set a defense in motion that will protect you as much as possible. The strategy your attorney uses will depend on the scenario. Your lawyer may fight for case dismissal, a plea deal, not-guilty verdict (acquittal) or another positive outcome.
Potential defenses against murder and homicide charges in Arizona include:
Another possibility is arguing that the killing occurred in the heat of passion (while under duress or emotional distress) to reduce the charges. This means that you lashed out at the victim in an outburst of passion, such as involving a case of adultery, rather than premeditated murder. This defense could reduce the charges to involuntary manslaughter, resulting in a lessened sentence. Your lawyer will analyze your specific situation to determine the right defense for you.
Homicide crimes are among the most serious charges you could face. Call the AZ Defenders law office at (480) 456-6400 to speak with one of our Phoenix homicide defense lawyers as soon as possible for experienced criminal defense. Or, if you prefer, you may contact us online to discuss your homicide charge or murder case.
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