Homicide is the taking of a person’s life, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Causing the death of another has far-reaching consequences, and anyone in this position is likely grappling with many difficulties.
Regardless of the situation that led to fatal consequences, you have rights that deserve protection. If you or a family member have been accused of causing the death of another person, you need the best. Having the right Gilbert homicide lawyer working for you from the beginning can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
The stakes do not get higher than they are in these cases. Homicide cases at Grand Canyon Law Group are handled personally by the founding members of the firm, David Lish and Ryan McPhie. You will meet with them from the consultation and they will be the attorneys in the case, not a less experienced attorney. It will receive all our attention and will be handled correctly from the very beginning.
The law recognizes the difference between accidentally causing a death and carrying out an intentional homicide. In Arizona, there are three legally defined homicide crimes.
Murder is an appropriate charge when the accused intended to kill someone. First-degree murder is intentionally killing someone with premeditation. Second-degree murder is intentional, but not necessarily pre-meditated. Both first and second-degree murder are Class 1 felonies.
Conviction on a first-degree murder charge could lead to life imprisonment or the death penalty, if there were aggravating circumstances. The sentence for second-degree murder is 10 to 25 years of imprisonment.
One could be charged with manslaughter if their reckless actions caused another’s death, as well as other circumstances. In these situations, the defendant had no premeditation or intent to kill, but their actions were so reckless that they should have recognized the danger or risk of death to another person. Manslaughter is a Class 2 felony that carries a sentence of four to ten years for those with no prior criminal history.
In some cases, it is unclear whether a person should face charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Part of your attorney’s efforts will be to convince to prosecutor to charge or eventually offer to settle the case for a lesser outcome.
Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 13 §1102, defines negligent homicide as the crime of someone causing another’s death through their actions but without perceiving the substantial riskiness of their behavior. The defendant’s behavior must be far removed from the actions of a reasonable person in similar circumstances. Criminally negligent homicide is a Class 4 felony, and the sentence upon conviction is 18 months to four years in prison but would be significantly higher if committed with a dangerous instrument or deadly weapon, which is likely. It would also be much higher if the defendant has any prior criminal history. Again, though, the Gilbert homicide attorneys at GCLG will work to reduce charges and negotiate an outcome that could be better than these guidelines.
It is a fundamental principle of our legal system that prosecutors must prove their case against an accused beyond a reasonable doubt. A jury cannot convict a defendant if the prosecutor has not demonstrated the offender’s guilt.
However, if the prosecutor is able to make a strong case that the defendant caused someone’s death, there are defenses that the accused may assert to justify their actions or mitigate the severity of the punishment. Some of these include:
If applicable in a certain homicide case, an experienced lawyer in Gilbert may use these or other defenses to convince a prosecutor to bring a lesser charge, or convince a jury that the defendant should not be held responsible for the death in question.
If you are facing homicide charges, your life and liberty are on the line. We have learned through sad stories in the media that innocence does not mean you will be safe from charges. In situations in which justification or mitigation is needed, you need a committed advocate in your community who can build a vigorous defense and work toward the best possible outcome under the circumstances.
Contact a Gilbert homicide lawyer from the Grand Canyon Law Group as soon as possible. The more time a legal professional has to build a proactive defense in your case, the stronger the defense they can present on your behalf. Call today to schedule a consultation.