A homicide happens when one person deprives another of their life. The right to life is considered as one of the most basic human rights, which is why the Arizona legal system reserves the most severe penalties and punishments for those who commit this crime.
A lot of people tend to use the terms murder and homicide interchangeably. However, they’re not the same crimes. While all murders are homicides, not all homicides are murders. Murder involves intentionally killing someone without any justification.
If you’re facing homicide charges, your freedom and life are at stake. It’s critical to find strong representation with the skills and knowledge to pursue every legal option.
Howard Dworman has helped countless clients fight for their rights. He understand the urgency of your case, and is prepared to use his experience and skills to help you obtain the best possible result.
Call us now at (602) 698-5520 to protect your rights.
Types of Homicide Charges
The type of homicide charge an accused may face will depend on certain factors such as the identity of the victim, the circumstances surrounding the incident, etc. In Phoenix, Arizona, homicide charges are classified into four categories. Each is a serious crime that carries heavy mandatory sentencing.
- First-Degree Murder
Under Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1105, this is a potential capital offense and a class 1 felony. It occurs when a person takes the life of another in a deliberate, premeditated, and intentional act. A person who is convicted of first degree murder may spend the rest of their life in prison.
- Second-Degree Murder
This is a class 1 felony under ARS 13-1104. This type of crime happens when a person knowingly or intentionally causes the death of another, but the act wasn’t premeditated. Here are some possible scenarios for those who are facing second degree murder charges:
- The state may charge a person with this crime if another person’s death was due to the former’s extreme recklessness. The accused may even face a murder conviction if they killed someone in a DUI accident, and it was later established that their blood alcohol levels were extremely high.
- The minimum sentence is 10 years in prison. For first-time offenders, the maximum they can get is 22 years.
- For those with a prior conviction of a serious felony, including second-degree murder, the minimum sentence is 15 years and the maximum is 25 years.
- If the victim was an unborn child (excluding elective abortions) or under the age of 15, the court may sentence the accused to life in prison, with a chance of getting parole after 25 years. This is also the case if the accused has two or more previous convictions for serious felonies.
This charge is given when the accused has recklessly caused the death of another. Pursuant to ARS 13-1103, this is a class 2 felony that happens when one did not specifically intend to cause a person’s death. A manslaughter conviction can get one to spend 5 to 10 years in prison, or as long as 12.5 years with enhancements.Here are some scenarios that could give rise to a manslaughter charge:
- The killing occurred as a crime of passion, or a crime that happened in the heat of the moment
- The accused assisted another person to commit suicide
- The accused recklessly or knowingly caused an unborn child’s death by injuring the mother
- Negligent Homicide
Under ARS 13-1102, a person can get charged with negligent homicide when they cause the death of another person, even if that was not their intention. The prosecution will only need to establish that the accused’s recklessness or extreme negligence led to the victim’s death. The maximum sentence for this class 4 felony is 3 years.Some examples of situations that can lead to a negligent homicide charge are the following:
- Vehicular homicide
- Accidents caused by the accused when they were impaired by drugs or alcohol
Possible Defenses to Homicide Charges
A Phoenix homicide defense attorney can help work out the best strategy given the specific circumstances of the case. Below are some examples of these defenses:
- The accused’s constitutional rights were violated by the police during their interrogation or investigation process.
- The evidence was illegally obtained and must, therefore, be suppressed.
- There was a mishandling of the physical evidence being offered.
- The accused has an airtight alibi.
- The eyewitness testimony lacks credibility or is unreliable.
- The killing was done in self-defense or in the defense of another.
- The evidence is insufficient to warrant a conviction.
Hire a Phoenix Homicide Defense Lawyer Lawyer to Fight for Your Rights
If you’re accused of any of the 4 types of homicides, the battle is going to be long and arduous. You’re going to need someone by your side who will work hard to defend you.
Howard Dworman has the skills and experience to help you achieve the best possible outcomes in your case. He works with reputable accident reconstruction and forensic experts to help you present a strong defense in court.
Call us now at (602) 698-5520 to schedule a consultation. Our team will keep your case evaluation completely confidential.