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October 18, 2013

Murder Defense in Arizona

Filed under: Murder — Tags: — Josh Blumenreich @ 8:00 am

crimesceneMurder can be defined as taking another person’s life. Due to the severity of certain cases, there are distinctions in differentiating the nature of the accused crime. In Arizona, murder is divided into four different classifications (listed by severity), negligent homicide, manslaughter, second-degree murder and first-degree murder. Each of these serious offenses carries a strict mandatory sentence.

Negligent homicide, the least serious of the four, is very similar to manslaughter since both cases the defendant never intended to cause the death of the victim. Unfortunately, this is also sometimes referred to as vehicular homicide since car accidents do result in the unintentional death of the victim. Arizona refers to negligent homicide as the accused party’s inability to see potential danger in their actions, resulting in a class 4 felony.

Similar to negligent homicide but with subtle differences, manslaughter (also referred to as involuntary manslaughter) is accused of the defendant if reckless behavior was present in the incident. Recklessness can be defined as knowingly endangering the lives of others through irresponsible behavior, like drinking and driving or failing to adhere to a traffic safety law that resulted in a death. Manslaughter crimes result in a class 2 felony.

Second-degree murder cases must be able to prove that the death occurred without premeditation, this is the difference between first and second-degree murder. Arizona also permits that second-degree murder charges to be placed on the case when a certain level of recklessness is present. However, a second-degree murder charge can be lowered to manslaughter if the murder was a result of a “crime of passion” or “in the heat of the moment” and the defendant lost control. A conviction of second-degree murder carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 22 years in prison.

First-degree murder, the most severe of the four, occurs when someone takes the life of another through premeditated and intentional actions. The punishments in Arizona for a first-degree murder charge range from life in prison without parole, life in prison with parole being eligible after serving 25 years, or death.

If you or a loved one has been accused or is currently under investigation for any of the charges listed above, it is crucial to your case to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Contact Josh Blumenreich of The Blumenreich Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.