Serving Greater Phoenix including Mesa, Scottsdale and Glendale
The Arizona Lawyers has been handling homicide cases in Phoenix for over 25 years. We leverage our legal knowledge and skill to design criminal defense strategies and have a proven track record of successfully defending our clients and securing their freedom.
In Arizona, homicide is a type of violent crime that occurs when an individual causes the death of another person, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This is a serious offense that is vigorously prosecuted, and a conviction can lead to a lengthy prison sentence. While not all homicides are considered crimes, it takes a highly skilled attorney to defend anyone who is facing charges.
What is Criminal Homicide?
Under Arizona law, depending on the circumstances, criminal homicide can be charged as murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide:
- First Degree Murder (ARS § 13-1105) – The intentional, premeditated killing of another person, or an accidental killing that occurs during the intentional commission of another crime. This is the most serious homicide charge, a Class 1 Felony, punishable by life in prison or death (capital punishment).
- Second Degree Murder (ARS § 13-1104) – The intentional killing of another person without premeditation, or recklessly engaging in conduct that results in the death of another person, also charged as a Class 1 Felony.
- Manslaughter (ARS § 13-1103) – Acting with conscious disregard for a substantial risk of bodily harm or death that causes the death of another person, or killing in the heat of passion, a Class 2 Felony.
- Vehicular Manslaughter – Arizona law does not differentiate between vehicular and other types of manslaughter. Charges can be brought when an individual recklessly causes the death of another person by driving under the influence (DUI), reckless or aggressive driving, or racing.
- Negligent Homicide (ARS § 13-1102) – Acting with criminal negligence that causes the death of another person, without premeditation or the intent to kill, a Class 4 Felony.
Criminal Homicide Defense Strategies
There are a variety of factors involved in homicide cases, such as mitigating or aggravating circumstances, as well as statutory enhancements. In order to be found guilty, however, the state must demonstrate that the defendant acted with the required mental state, such as intent, recklessness, or negligence.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Arizona Lawyers work diligently to win an acquittal by asserting a number of defenses. In the case of manslaughter, for example, when a defendant is charged with recklessly causing the death of another, we will work to show that the death was the victim’s fault or that the defendant did not act recklessly.
Additionally, we may assert an array of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations, such as a Miranda Rights violation. If the police failed to read a suspect his or her Miranda Rights, or coerced or intimidated the accused into making a confession or incriminating statement, those statements, and any evidence gathered because of those statements, may be deemed inadmissible at trial.
Another possible defense is the “denial of right to Counsel” which can occur when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to an attorney, but is denied and continues to be interrogated.
Similarly, it may also be possible to challenge the validity of a search warrant, or expose forensic flaws relative to blood, breath and urine testing, fingerprint analysis, DNA testing, ballistics, gunshot residue testing, etc. Ultimately, asserting these defenses requires the capabilities that our legal team is uniquely qualified to provide.
Experienced Phoenix Homicide Attorney
If you are facing homicide charges in Arizona, the Arizona Lawyers will provide you with a comprehensive defense strategy. This includes conducting a thorough investigation, collecting evidence, identifying and interviewing witnesses, uncovering any exculpatory evidence or mitigating factors. We also obtain and review a copy of the police report to uncover any errors that may have been committed by law enforcement. Additionally, we conduct pre-trial discovery, prepare and file all of the necessary legal motions, and vigorously defend you at trial.
Our guiding principle is that anyone who has been accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. As highly adept trial attorneys, we are committed to winning an acquittal or having the case dismissed. Depending on the circumstances, we may also seek to have the charges reduced or arrange for a plea bargain. In the event of a conviction, we will determine if there are grounds for an appeal and continue fighting for your rights.
Through the years, we have earned a reputation for vigorously defending our clients. Ultimately, being accused of a crime is a serious matter that can have serious consequences, including the loss of your freedom and long lasting damage to your reputation. If you are facing homicide charges in Arizona, call our office today for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.