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Criminal Defense Services

Homicide

Homicide crimes consist of three primary categories - Murder (which has three varieties), Manslaughter (which has two varieties), and Negligent Homicide.

In Arizona, there are three kinds of murder - first degree murder, second degree murder, and felony murder. Similarly, there are two kinds of manslaughter - voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Finally, there is negligent homidice. While technically Arizona has a misdemeanor manslaughter statute, that is not often charged and is not discussed here.

Rick Poster has successfully defended many homicide cases including manslaughter and murder cases.  Mr. Poster is also Arizona death penalty qualified.  His training and experience with these most serious cases keeps him on the cutting edge of the law.  If you or a loved one is accused of a negligent homicide, manslaughter, murder, or death penalty charge, call Rick Poster now for a consultation to find out how he can help defend these serious charges.

Generally, homicide refers to an act of one person killing another person.  In most states, there are generally two kinds of murder (first degree and second degree murder), and two kinds of manslaughter (voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter).  Arizona uses a variation with regard to manslaughter.  However it may be labeled, both murder and manslaughter are called homicide.

In its simplest form, the various homicides differ in only one element – the “intent”.  When thought of this way, homicide can be broken down to its common elements like this:

1.  Unlawful.

2.  Killing.

3.  Of another.

4.  With some level of intent:

     a.  Intentionally, or with premeditation (first degree murder).

     b.  Knowingly, or without premeditation (second degree murder).

     c.  Recklessly (voluntary manslaughter).

     d.  Negligently (involuntary manslaughter or negligent homicide).

Since all of the homicides have the same first three elements, the one element that changes the crime depends on what level of intent was used, or can be proved.  Also, when referring to negligence, there is a fine line between gross negligence (the criminal standard, and simple or mere negligence (the civil standard).

In Arizona, homicides are listed in ARS § 13-1101 et seq.

 

13-1101.  Definitions

In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
1.  “Premeditation” means that the defendant acts with either the intention or the knowledge that he will kill another human being, when such intention or knowledge precedes the killing by any length of time to permit reflection.  Proof of actual reflection is not required, but an act is not done with premeditation if it is the instant effect of a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
2.  “Homicide” means first degree murder, second degree murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide.
3.  “Person” means a human being.
4.  “Adequate provocation” means conduct or circumstances sufficient to deprive a reasonable person of self-control.

 

13-1102.  Negligent homicide; classification
A.  A person commits negligent homicide if with criminal negligence the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child.
B.  An offense under this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development.  A person may not be prosecuted under this section if any of the following applies:
 1.  The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman’s behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.
 2.  The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman’s unborn child.
 3.  The person was the unborn child’s mother.
C.  Negligent homicide is a class 4 felony.

 

13-1103.  Manslaughter; classification
A.  A person commits manslaughter by:
 1.  Recklessly causing the death of another person; or
 2.  Committing second degree murder as defined in section 13-1104, subsection A upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion resulting from adequate provocation by the victim; or
 3.  Intentionally aiding another to commit suicide; or
 4.  Committing second degree murder as defined in section 13-1104, subsection A, paragraph 3, while being coerced to do so by the use or threatened immediate use of unlawful deadly physical force upon such person or a third person which a reasonable person in his situation would have been unable to resist; or
 5.  Knowingly or recklessly causing the death of an unborn child by any physical injury to the mother.
B.  An offense under subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development. A person shall not be prosecuted under subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section if any of the following applies:
 1.  The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman’s behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.
 2.  The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman’s unborn child.
 3.  The person was the unborn child’s mother.
C.  Manslaughter is a class 2 felony.

 

13-1104.  Second degree murder; classification
A.  A person commits second degree murder if without premeditation:
 1.  The person intentionally causes the death of another person, including an unborn child or, as a result of intentionally causing the death of another person, causes the death of an unborn child; or
 2.  Knowing that the person’s conduct will cause death or serious physical injury, the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child or, as a result of knowingly causing the death of another person, causes the death of an unborn child; or
 3.  Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and thereby causes the death of another person, including an unborn child or, as a result of recklessly causing the death of another person, causes the death of an unborn child.
B.  An offense under this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development.  A person may not be prosecuted under this section if any of the following applies:
 1.  The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman’s behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.
 2.  The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman’s unborn child.
 3.  The person was the unborn child’s mother.
C.  Second degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable as provided by section 13-705 if the victim is under fifteen years of age or is an unborn child, section 13-706, subsection A or section 13-710.

 

13-1105.  First degree murder; classification
A.  A person commits first degree murder if:
 1.  Intending or knowing that the person’s conduct will cause death, the person causes the death of another person, including an unborn child, with premeditation or, as a result of causing the death of another person with premeditation, causes the death of an unborn child.
 2.  Acting either alone or with one or more other persons the person commits or attempts to commit sexual conduct with a minor under section 13-1405, sexual assault under section 13-1406, molestation of a child under section 13-1410, terrorism under section 13-2308.01, marijuana offenses under section 13-3405, subsection A, paragraph 4, dangerous drug offenses under section 13-3407, subsection A, paragraphs 4 and 7, narcotics offenses under section 13-3408, subsection A, paragraph 7 that equal or exceed the statutory threshold amount for each offense or combination of offenses, involving or using minors in drug offenses under section 13-3409, drive by shooting under section 13-1209, kidnapping under section 13-1304, burglary under section 13-1506, 13-1507 or 13-1508, arson under section 13-1703 or 13-1704, robbery under section 13-1902, 13-1903 or 13-1904, escape under section 13-2503 or 13-2504, child abuse under section 13-3623, subsection A, paragraph 1 or unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle under section 28-622.01 and, in the course of and in furtherance of the offense or immediate flight from the offense, the person or another person causes the death of any person.
 3.  Intending or knowing that the person’s conduct will cause death to a law enforcement officer, the person causes the death of a law enforcement officer who is in the line of duty.
B.  Homicide, as prescribed in subsection A, paragraph 2 of this section, requires no specific mental state other than what is required for the commission of any of the enumerated felonies.
C.  An offense under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development. A person shall not be prosecuted under subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section if any of the following applies:
 1.  The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman’s behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.
 2.  The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman’s unborn child.
 3.  The person was the unborn child’s mother.
D.  First degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable by death or life imprisonment as provided by sections 13-751 and 13-752.

 

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