The Laws on Homicide in Arizona


It is difficult to think of anything more serious than taking the life of another person. If you or a loved one has been charged with homicide in Phoenix or other areas of Arizona, you are likely feeling sad, remorseful, and terrified about what’s going to happen. What penalties might you face? Will you have to go through a trial? How will this affect work? How will this affect your family and friends?

For a charge of this magnitude, with so much at stake, you really want to have a true legal expert on your side, fighting for your rights and developing the best defense strategy possible to ensure that you receive the most positive outcome possible – you want an experienced Phoenix homicide attorney.

Types of Homicide Under Arizona Law

While there is only one end result of a Phoenix homicide – the death of a human being – the state of Arizona understands that the circumstances surrounding the cause of each death are different and that someone who plots to murder the husband of their lover should be punished differently than the person who gets in an argument with another person and accidentally goes too far. Because of this, Arizona separates the charges for murder and homicide into 4 categories:

  • Negligent homicide
  • Manslaughter
  • Second degree murder
  • First degree murder

Negligent homicide is punished the least severely, and means that a person kills another without realizing that their actions were going to cause danger to other people. When a person kills another while impaired by drugs or alcohol, or by accident while driving, these are examples of possible negligent homicide crimes. Killing someone while driving even has its’ own separate classification: vehicular homicide. Regardless, all forms of negligent homicides are charged as Class 4 felonies.

A manslaughter charge is the more serious, and means that a person was killed due to the knowingly reckless behavior of another person.

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