something categorically dangerous. Instead, someone charged with this offense is being accused of not being as careful as they should be in the situation they were in. Negligent homicide might be charged if someone caused an accident while driving and talking on their phone, or if a child dies as a result of something a parent should have prevented.
Negligent Homicide is a class 4 felony.
CAUSING DEATH BY THE USE OF A VEHICLE:
Causing death by the use of a vehicle is usually charged when an individual causes an accident that results in the death of another person, and that person’s license had been suspended or revoked. It is very similar to negligent homicide. The difference between the two is that the prosecutor does not need to prove that the person accused of the crime was behaving negligently. Instead, the prosecutor only needs to prove that the person who caused the accident was not allowed to be driving a car at the time the accident occurred.
FIRST AND SECOND DEGREE MURDER:
Murder is considered the intentional killing of another individual. It is the most serious crime a person can be accused of in the state of Arizona. If you have been accused of murder, contact an attorney immediately.
First Degree Murder
Premeditated Murder: The first type of first-degree murder is murder done with premeditation. A.R.S. 13-1105 says that a person is guilty of first-degree murder if, “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…” Under A.R.S. 13-110, 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.” Premeditation means that a person thought and/or planned to kill the person before they killed the person. In effect, first-degree murder is committing an act with knowledge or intent that the act will kill the other person. It means the person was killed on purpose.
A person convicted of first-degree murder can be sentenced to death, natural life (no possibility of release), or life with possibility of release after 25 years. If the victim was under 15, then a person sentenced to life is not eligible for release until after 35 years.
Felony Murder: Felony murder is the second type of first-degree murder. If a person other than the defendant is killed during the commission of a felony, then the defendant can be charged with felony murder. The classic example is a bank robbery gone wrong. If a defendant goes into a bank with the intent to commit a robbery, and the security guard shoots and kills a bank teller by accident, then the bank robber can be charged with felony murder. The purpose of the felony murder rule is to deter felony offenses altogether. Keep in mind that the death must be foreseeable result of the felony. Felony murder carries the same range of penalty as premediated murder, except that a defendant cannot be sentenced to death.
Second Degree Murder
Second-degree is less serious than first-degree murder but more serious than manslaughter. It is murder committed without premeditation. A.R.S. 13-1104(A) outlines the different criteria for second-degree murder:
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Second-degree murder is usually a crime of passion. The classic example is the man who comes home to find his wife cheating. In a heat of rage, the husband strangles the wife’s lover to death. Because the murder was done in the heat of the moment and was not premeditated, the suspect could be charged with second-degree murder. The difference between charging a case as first-degree or second-degree murder is usually within the prosecutor’s discretion. For example, if the same husband comes home, finds his wife cheating, walks to the safe in his basement, unlocks the safe, walks back upstairs and shoots his wife’s lover, the State might consider that premeditation. If so, the offense could then be charged as first-degree murder.
Second-degree murder has its own sentencing scheme. A person convicted of second-degree murder faces a range of 10-25 years in prison.
Negligent homicide is uncommon in Arizona. A person is guilty of negligent homicide if they kill another person with criminal negligence. Criminal negligence occurs when a person fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. An example of negligent homicide is when a child dies after being left in a hot car. The person who left the child in the car failed to perceive circumstances which existed; namely, that the baby was left in the car. The law says that is not what a reasonable person would do. The difference between manslaughter and negligent homicide is that manslaughter requires a reckless act, whereas negligent homicide requires a reckless omission/failure.
A person convicted of negligent homicide usually faces a range of 1-3.75 years in prison.