Scottsdale Murder Defense Attorney

If you are facing murder charges in Scottsdale, Arizona, you need the most aggressive criminal defense lawyer available. You don’t need us to tell you that murder charges carry significant and lifelong penalties. The team at AZ Defenders can help if you are in this stressful situation. Our law firm has a reputation for providing hard-hitting defense strategies. We are prepared to open a meticulous investigation and build the strongest possible defense on your behalf. Contact us for a free case review.

Scottsdale Murder Defense Resources

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Why Choose the AZ Defenders for a Murder Case?
What Is First-Degree Murder in Scottsdale?
Felony Murder in Scottsdale
Penalties for First-Degree or Felony Murder
What Is Second-Degree Murder in Scottsdale?
Penalties for Second-Degree Murder
Potential Defenses in a Murder Case
Speak to a Lawyer Today

Why Choose the AZ Defenders for a Murder Case in Scottsdale?

  • We understand what is at stake in a Scottsdale murder case. We are not intimidated by aggressive prosecutors and are not afraid to defend your rights in a courtroom.
  • Our attorneys have more than 20 years of combined legal experience representing clients in murder, homicide, manslaughter and other violent crime cases.
  • We pursue optimal results for each case using tailored legal strategies. Our lawyers and staff take the time to personalize defense strategies when results matter most.

Scottsdale Murder Defense Attorney

What Is First-Degree Murder in Scottsdale?

First-degree murder is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1105. This statute says that a person commits first-degree murder if he or she causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, with premeditation and intending or knowing that his or her conduct will cause death. 

“Premeditation” is defined by A.R.S. 13-1101 as acting with the intention or knowledge that the action will kill another human being, when such intention or knowledge precedes the killing by an amount of time to permit reflection. In other words, the act was not done in the heat of passion. 

Arizona’s murder statute goes on to state that a homicide conviction requires no specific mental state other than what is required for the commission of the felony. It also explains that in the case of the death of an unborn child, a person shall not be prosecuted if he or she was performing an abortion with the consent of the pregnant woman or her medical proxy, was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the unborn child, or was the unborn child’s mother.

Felony Murder in Scottsdale 

In addition to the above-mentioned definition of murder, Arizona law includes what is known as the “felony murder rule.” This rule states that it is first-degree murder to act alone or with someone else to commit or attempt to commit any of the following crimes, if in the course of and in furtherance of the offense, the death of any person is caused:

  • Sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sexual assault
  • Child molestation
  • Terrorism
  • Certain marijuana offenses
  • Dangerous drug offenses
  • Drive-by shooting
  • Kidnapping
  • Burglary
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Child abuse

An individual could also be charged with first-degree murder if a death is caused during the unlawful flight from pursuing law enforcement officers for committing one of these crimes. Finally, knowingly or intentionally killing a law enforcement officer in the line of duty is also classified as first-degree murder in Arizona.

Penalties for First-Degree or Felony Murder 

First-degree murder or felony murder is a Class 1 felony in Arizona – the highest criminal charge possible. It is punishable with 25 years to life in prison. A first-degree murder conviction could also be sentenced by the death penalty under A.R.S. 13-751. This statute allows the state to seek the death penalty if there are aggravating circumstances, such as if the defendant was previously convicted of a serious offense, or if the offense was committed in an especially “heinous, cruel or depraved manner.”

What Is Second-Degree Murder in Scottsdale?

Second-degree murder is defined in Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1104 as intentionally causing the death of another person, including an unborn child, without premeditation. Causing the death of an unborn child as a result of intentionally causing the death of its mother is also classified as second-degree murder.

In addition, the law defines second-degree murder as causing the death of a person while knowing that his or her conduct will cause death or serious physical injury. The third and final definition is to recklessly engage in conduct – under circumstances that show an extreme indifference to human life – that creates a grave risk of death and results in the death of another person.

Penalties for Second-Degree Murder

Second-degree murder is also a Class 1 felony in Arizona. However, unlike first-degree murder, it is punishable by 10 to 25 years in prison rather than life imprisonment or the death penalty. There is an exception if the elements of A.R.S. 13-1706 (serious, violent or aggravated offenders) are satisfied, in which case the defendant could face life imprisonment or death for a second-degree murder conviction. A Scottsdale criminal defense attorney can help you understand the potential sentence in your specific case.

Potential Defenses in a Murder Case 

You can defend against murder charges in Scottsdale with the right criminal defense attorney by your side. The most appropriate defense for you depends on the circumstances surrounding the alleged crime and the evidence that the prosecution has against you. An attorney from AZ Defenders will carefully review your case and criminal background to create the strongest possible defense against your murder charges.

Potential defense options to a murder charge in Scottsdale include:

  • Lack of intent: it may be possible to reduce a murder charge to a less serious charge, such as negligent homicide or manslaughter, by proving that the defendant did not act intentionally to cause the victim’s death.
  • Self-defense: proof of adequate provocation, or that the death occurred as a result of the defendant acting in self-defense. The self-defense argument requires circumstances where a reasonable person would have believed he or she was in imminent danger of physical harm.
  • Violation of constitutional rights: certain evidence could be thrown out or suppressed if it was obtained in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights, such as during an illegal search and seizure. This could result in an argument of insufficient evidence.

An attorney will aim for the best possible outcome for your murder case, whether this is a case acquittal for a false accusation, a plea deal with the prosecutor or reduced charges for lesser penalties. When the results of a criminal case will affect the rest of your life, choose a murder and aggravated assault defense attorney in Scottsdale that you can trust. Choose AZ Defenders.

Speak to an Experienced Scottsdale Murder Defense Attorney Today

If you or a loved one is facing any type of murder charge, contact the attorneys at AZ Defenders to request a free case consultation. Our Scottsdale murder defense attorneys will provide legal advice that you can use to better understand your position and future. Our lawyers work relentlessly on behalf of our clients. We will help you with what comes next after being accused of murder. Call us at (480) 568-4473 to speak to an attorney. We are available 24/7.