Homicide is the most harshly prosecuted and punished offense that exists in the criminal justice system. If the State has accused you of taking someone else’s life, you may feel hopeless and overwhelmed by the charges against you. However, it is important to remember that not all is lost. You have rights in this situation, including the right to seek help from an experienced defense attorney.
After such a serious accusation, your first priority should be to contact a Chandler homicide lawyer at the Grand Canyon Law Group. Our legal team is made up of former prosecutors who know exactly how these cases are handled. We can put our experience and knowledge to work for you by reviewing your case, assessing your options, and aggressively fighting the charges against you.
Being under investigation for homicide is an overwhelming experience. The police and prosecutors may appear helpful and suggest that cooperating will benefit you, but do not be fooled into thinking that the authorities are on your side. Talking to the police without an attorney only helps the State build its case.
Anything that a suspect says to the police could be used against them at trial. Those accused should keep quiet and retain dedicated legal counsel as soon as possible. The seasoned homicide attorneys at our Chandler office can be a crucial advocate for an accused individual and protect their rights throughout the criminal investigation.
Homicide is an over-arching term to describe when one person takes the life of another person or an unborn child. Within this category, Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1101(2) recognizes the following offenses:
Although these offenses differ based on the behavior and intent of the accused person, they are all felonies with severe penalties upon conviction. In the most extreme cases, the court may sentence the accused to life in prison or impose the death penalty. Those with prior criminal histories receive harsher sentences than first-time offenders. To protect a person’s life and freedom, it is crucial to secure rigorous representation from a homicide attorney in the area. The lawyers at our firm will aggressively challenge the State’s case through a variety of tactics to produce the best outcome for the accused.
Negligent homicide involves careless actions that result in another person’s death. The accused person may not have even been aware that their behavior posed an unreasonable danger. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1102 classifies this offense as a Class Four felony. Depending on the facts of the case and the criminal history of the accused, a person convicted on negligent homicide charges may face a prison sentence of four to 16 years.
Manslaughter is when someone’s reckless behavior causes another person’s death, such as in a fatal car accident if the driver was impaired. These charges may also be brought if someone killed another person during an argument or altercation in the heat of passion. Encouraging or facilitating someone else’s suicide could also constitute manslaughter. Under Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1103, this Class Two felony carries a prison sentence of seven to 35 years depending on aggravating or mitigating factors and the criminal history of the accused.
The most serious homicide charge, murder, has two subcategories: first-degree and second-degree murder. Each carries harsh penalties and requires tenacious defense by a knowledgeable homicide attorney to effectively combat.
In a first-degree murder case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant had a premeditated intent to kill the other person. As explained in Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1101(1), the defendant deliberately caused another person’s death, had an opportunity to think about it, and continued to engage in the act. If the death occurred during another felony crime (e.g., robbery or sexual assault), the prosecution could seek a first-degree murder charge for felony murder. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1105(D) sets the punishments for this offense as life imprisonment or the death penalty.
Second-degree murder also involves the deliberate killing of another person. Essentially, this means that the person understood that their actions would cause severe injury or death. However, second-degree murder does not have an aspect of premeditation. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-1104 identifies second degree murder as a Class One felony carrying prison terms of ten to 25 years, depending on the circumstances.
A homicide conviction could lead to a lifelong prison term or even capital punishment. When the stakes are this high, you need the best legal defense on your side to mitigate the potential consequences. At Grand Canyon Law, our tenacious attorneys have years of experience successfully handling these types of cases. One of our Chandler homicide lawyers can work tirelessly to protect your rights, freedom, and future using various defense strategies. Contact us as soon as possible to begin building your case.