Murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide are serious criminal charges. In the State of Arizona, you can be charged with murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide if you are suspected to be involved in the death of another person. These charges are some of the most severe you can face in criminal court. In some cases, the penalties for conviction may be so severe that your life literally hangs in the balance. If you’ve been charged with murder, manslaughter, or homicide in Arizona, call the Attorney’s at Tait & Hall for experienced legal defense.
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Murder & Homicide Overview
Arizona prosecutes murders of two degrees: first-degree murder and second-degree murder. Additionally, murder charges may result from deaths occurring during the commission of other felony crimes.
First-Degree Murder ARS §13-1105. First-degree murder charges are filed against those suspected of taking the life of another person knowingly, and with deliberate intent. First-degree murder charges are the most-serious murder charges you can face. These charges carry some of the most severe penalties possible under Arizona law, including lengthy prison sentences (up to life without the possibility of parole) and the death penalty. If you’re facing first-degree murder charges, you can expect to face the full power of the state.
Second-Degree Murder ARS §13-1104. Those suspected of murdering without premeditation may be accused of second-degree murder. Second-degree murders are intentional murders but lack pre-planning and forethought. Crimes committed out of passion or in ‘the heat of the moment’ are often prosecuted as second-degree murders.
Felony Murder ARS §13-1105. A felony murder is a spontaneous murder occurring during the commission of another felony crime. Deaths resulting from violent crimes and other criminal acts may be prosecuted as felony murders. Regardless of intent, the alleged perpetrator and anyone suspected to be involved in the planning or commission of the act may be charged with felony murder – a first-degree murder charge with associated consequences.
Negligent Homicide ARS §13-1102. Arizona may pursue negligent homicide charges in cases where a death is suspected to have occurred due to the negligence or carelessness of another person. Negligent homicides are deaths caused by the unsafe behavior of someone in an instance where safe behavior would likely have kept them alive. Carelessness may not be criminal in intent and accidents can happen in an instant. The law will still seek to punish you. If you’ve been charged with negligent homicide you are facing serious penalties for conviction.
Manslaughter Charges ARS §13-1103. Manslaughter charges can be filed in many different cases in which a death occurred. These include:
- Reckless behavior which causes death, including while driving.
- Death of an unborn infant through injury inflicted on the mother.
- Other unintentional deaths.
Murders, homicides, and manslaughter charges can all be complicated by additional aggravating factors, witness testimony, assaults on your character, and harsh pretrial release and bail statutes. Team up with experienced Phoenix homicide lawyer’s at Tait & Hall.
The penalties for murder, homicide, and manslaughter vary greatly. The case circumstances, defendant history, aggravating factors and much more are included in determining sentence severity. Typically, sentences reflect the following:
Murder in the First Degree
Those convicted of first-degree murder face the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Murder in the Second Degree
A second-degree murder charge, while less severe, retains severe punishments for the convicted. Those facing second-degree murder charges face 10-25 years in prison and up to 15-30 years if they have a prior conviction for murder or a class 2 or 3 dangerous offense.
Felony Murder Convictions
Felony murders are typically prosecuted as first-degree murders in Arizona. This means felony murder are generally subject to the same sentences as those convicted of first-degree murder, including up to life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Negligent Homicide Sentences
Carelessness can be costly. Those found guilty of negligent homicide without prior convictions or other aggravators or sentencing enhancements face a term of up to 3.75 years in prison.
Sentences for Manslaughter
Deaths caused by manslaughter may have many different aggravating and mitigating circumstances to weigh in court. In general, sentences first-time offenders convicted of manslaughter can fall anywhere between 3 and 12.5 years in prison.
Those convicted of murder, negligent homicide, or manslaughter in Arizona face additional penalties beyond jail or prison time. In many cases, a conviction can lead to expensive civil lawsuits. Court costs, fines, probation and parole, and restitution payments all serve to complicate your life post-conviction. If you’ve been accused of murder or are suspected to be involved in any way in the death of another person, you need a lawyer who knows how to defend you. The penalties for conviction can cripple you or end your life.
An accusation of murder or homicide can put everything on the line. The news is rife with stories of innocent people incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. If you’ve been accused of murder, homicide, or are facing manslaughter charges you need a lawyer who can handle the weight of your case.
Murder cases can be lengthy, difficult, and may attract significant media attention. Don’t face murder or homicide charges alone. The Attorney’s at Tait & Hall has experience defending against murder charges in Arizona, from successfully convincing prosecutors to not seek the death penalty against her clients, to trying a high-profile, nationally-televised murder trial. When you retain the Law Office of Tait & Hall, you get a network of expert witnesses, forensic specialists, and mitigation specialists to form your best and total defense strategy.
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