What is Homicide?
A Phoenix homicide lawyer understands homicide is not always necessarily a crime, especially in cases of self-defense. Criminal homicides involve death from either negligence or willful intent, and range from involuntary manslaughter to first degree murder. Sentences will vary depending on the severity of the crime and a slew of many other factors.
Criminal Homicide Classifications
Criminal homicides include the following:
• First Degree Murder
This is the highest level of criminal homicide, which consists of willful and premeditated killings. One such famous case in Phoenix was that of Jodi Arias, found guilty in the stabbing and shooting of her ex-boyfriend. Under the Arizona statutes, first degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable by death or life imprisonment.
• Second Degree Murder
This homicide is a middle ground crime, between voluntary manslaughter without premeditation and first degree murder. Another famous case involved music producer Phil Spector, who was found guilty of second-degree murder in February 2003 for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. Second degree murder in Arizona is a class 1 felony and is punishable by ten years, 16 years, or 22 years.
Manslaughter charges are generally reserved where the accused did not plan the crime, nor did they intend for the victim to die. Manslaughter charges arise out of accidental circumstances where a person died because of an inconsequential event. Sentencing for those convicted of manslaughter in Phoenix depends on many different factors, including the defendant’s state of mind and intent. This type of criminal act is charged as a less serious crime than murder. Depending on a first time conviction or multiple convictions, sentencing can range from 10 years to 35 years in prison.
• Negligent Homicide
Negligent homicide is classified as the killing of another person through gross negligence without malice forethought. It can include death as a result of a motor vehicle accident. It is also classified as “involuntary manslaughter.” A famous negligent homicide case involved the self-help author James Arthur Ray, who was convicted after he was accused for the deaths of three people during a Sedona, Arizona sweat lodge ceremony in 2009 where Ray ignored cries for help as people passed out and vomited. Depending on first time or previous convictions, sentencing ranges from 4 years to a maximum of 16 year incarceration.
Any Phoenix homicide lawyer understands homicide has been a punishable crime since the beginning of the U.S. legal system. A skilled Phoenix homicide lawyer will be able to help the accused to decide whether entering a fair plea bargain is possible or even advisable. Homicide trials are quite often the target of intense public scrutiny and a Phoenix attorney is invaluable in helping the accused prepare for this frightening experience.
One of Arizona’s Top Homicide Lawyers
Jason D. Lamm, The Phoenix Criminal Attorney, is an experienced criminal defense attorney who treats his clients with understanding and compassion. If the case is in Phoenix (Maricopa County), Tucson (Pima County), Prescott (Yavapai County),Yuma (Yuma County), Kingman (Mojave County), Flagstaff (Coconino County), St. John’s (Apache County), or Holbrook (Navajo County), and you are looking for an experienced, worthwhile criminal defense attorney, call Attorney Lamm for a personal consultation.