Manslaughter is one of the most serious criminal charges you can face in Arizona. Luckily, several defenses are available for defendants accused of manslaughter or negligent homicide. The Tempe manslaughter attorneys at AZ Defenders can help you create a defense, protect your rights, and fight back against a prosecutor. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation near you.
Manslaughter is an offense in Arizona that can refer to several different crimes involving the death of the victim. Most states classify manslaughter as either voluntary or involuntary. Arizona, however, classifies it as manslaughter vs. negligent homicide. If you have additional questions about what is considered manslaughter under Arizona law, speak with a knowledgeable Tempe manslaughter lawyer at the law office of AZ Defenders.
Manslaughter requires proof that the defendant’s actions reached the point of recklessness or a gross deviation from the accepted standards of care for the situation. Arizona Revised Statute 13-1103 lists five main offenses that constitute the crime of manslaughter.
Proving manslaughter requires the prosecution to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that someone died due to the defendant’s gross deviation from the duty of care or taking a substantial and unjustifiable risk.
Negligent homicide is a death caused by an act of criminal negligence. This is the failure to perceive the substantial risk that an action or omission will have on others. This type of case requires proof that a reasonable person would not have taken the same risk.
The possible penalties for a first offense manslaughter charge in Arizona (a class 2 felony) are a minimum of 7 years in prison, with a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years, up to 21 years. With a prior dangerous felony conviction, the prison time ranges from 14 to 28 years. With two priors, it increases to 21 to 35 years.
Negligent homicide is a class 4 felony if the defendant did not use a dangerous or deadly weapon. This offense comes with a penalty of up to one year in prison. This crime is a class 4 dangerous felony if it involves the use of a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, punishable with a minimum of four years (up to eight years) in prison.
The most common defense to a manslaughter charge is a supervening cause. This means that something other than the defendant’s actions caused the victim’s death. Even if you were negligent or reckless, the supervening cause defense alleges that you are not responsible for the victim’s death because something else caused it.
A defense for negligent homicide could be that the defendant did not understand his or her behavior could result in harm to others. The defendant might not have realized that his or her actions were a gross deviation from the standards of care. Other defenses could include constitutional violations, coercion, entrapment or lack of evidence. Learn more about the defenses available to you in a negligent homicide case by speaking with a local manslaughter attorney in Tempe, AZ.
If you are facing a manslaughter or negligent homicide charge in Tempe, AZ, do not wait to contact AZ Defenders. We can custom-tailor a defense strategy to suit your unique needs. Our Tempe manslaughter attorneys have years of experience and are aggressive litigators for our clients. We can guide you through the process of a manslaughter case in Arizona from start to finish. Begin with a free initial consultation in Tempe. Call (480) 456-6400 today to speak to an attorney.