Being accused of the taking of a human life is a grave legal matter. The cases involved are handled differently than other crimes and carry the potential for severe sentences like life in prison and even capital punishment. Murder is the intentional taking of another person’s life, but there are careful distinctions when it comes to punishing those convicted of murder/homicide due to the nature of the crimes. It’s important to remember that you are presumed innocent, but you will need a solid legal defense. Contact the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, P.C. today.
Types of Homicide
There are different kinds of homicide charges, and each of them is treated differently under the law. The intent and manner in which the crime was committed can determine which category of crime a person is charged with. The four types of homicide charges that a person might face in under Arizona law include:
- Negligent homicide
- Second-degree murder
- First-degree murder
Penalties for Homicide in Arizona
Anyone convicted of one of these charges could be facing several serious legal penalties with sentences involving decades or life in prison and sometimes without the option of parole. Due to the severity of these penalties, a strong defense is vital for anyone attempting to overcome such a criminal offense.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 13-1102 characterizes negligent homicide when criminal negligence causes another person’s death, including an unborn child, at any stage of its development in the womb. Negligent homicide is a class four felony and is punishable with prison time. Sometimes the following exceptions may prevent an individual from being prosecuted if:
- The person was performing an abortion for which consent had been obtained.
- The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or unborn child.
- The person was the mother of the unborn child.
ARS Section 13-1103 recognizes manslaughter as a class two felony. A person can commit manslaughter by:
- Recklessly causing someone else’s death
- Committing second-degree murder upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion resulting from adequate provocation by the victim
- Intentionally providing means for another person to commit suicide knowing that the person wants to commit suicide
- Committing second-degree murder while being coerced to do so by deadly physical force upon which a reasonable person in the same situation would have been unable to resist
- Knowingly causing the death of an unborn child, at any stage of its development, by physically injuring the mother.
Manslaughter charges could also include vehicular manslaughter, which commonly is charged when drunk drivers kill someone. Vehicular manslaughter is categorized as a class two felony, which is generally punishable with prison time.
Whether you face a voluntary or involuntary manslaughter charge, speak with a seasoned Tucson homicide attorney about your options moving forward.
Second-degree murder is a class one felony and is punishable with prison time, but criminal charges of second-degree murder are not eligible for the Arizona death penalty. A person commits second-degree murder if they do the following without premeditation:
- Intentionally causes the death of another person, including an unborn child.
- Knowingly causing the death of another person, including an unborn child.
- Recklessly engaging in conduct that creates the risk of death under circumstances demonstrating indifference to human life and therefore causes the death of another person, including an unborn child.
Second-degree murders are committed in the absence of planning and the spur of the moment. Second-degree murder charges differ from manslaughter charges because manslaughter occurs while a person is under the intense heat of passion and this passion is absent in second-degree murders.
First-degree murder is a class one felony punishable by life imprisonment or death. First-degree murders are committed knowing that his or her conduct will cause death. First-degree murders are committed with premeditation, cause the death of another person, including an unborn child.
First-degree murders could be committed acting alone or with one or more persons while committing any of several specific crimes; or while intentionally causing the death of a law enforcement officer.
Defending Your Tucson Homicide Case
Skilled Tucson homicide lawyers scrutinize every piece of evidence while preparing a thorough understanding of your case to encourage the best possible outcome. Sometimes the ideal outcome will be convincing the State of Arizona to dismiss or reduce the charges against you, or it could be building a successful defense at trial.
The circumstances of your case will determine the defenses available to you. Tucson murder defense attorneys have had success by:
- Offering proof that someone else committed the crime
- Demonstrating that the killing was done in self-defense
- Proving that the murder was unintentional
- Showing that the State’s evidence is insufficient to convict,
- In the case of felony murder, proving that the death was not caused by the commission of another crime
Tucson Murder Defense Attorney
The attorneys at the Law Office of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC, have a vast amount of experience representing clients because we conduct our own, independent defense investigation of the facts with our private investigators to locate weaknesses in the case. Contact us for a free initial consultation, and we will help you fight the accusations against you.