1st And 2nd Degree Murder Charges In Arizona
Murder has always been a serious crime, one punished through harsh penalties throughout history. Executions still take place in many countries, with some of those sentences carried out by victims’ families. In the U.S., your alleged actions of murder lead you to criminal prosecution with trial and potentially life-changing penalties in sentencing. Each U.S. state sets its own rules for murder sentencing.
If you find yourself charged with murder in Arizona, you need the aggressive representation of criminal defense lawyers able to fight for your freedom. Not having the right representation can result in a lifetime of imprisonment. So never underestimate your need to gain the help of criminal defense lawyers like those of DM Cantor.
First vs. Second Degree Murder
Murder is unlawful homicide, similar to manslaughter. But murder involves intentionally ending someone’s life, whereas manslaughter is accidental or unintentional.
First Degree Murder
First degree murder involves deliberate killing of someone else through willful and premeditated acts.
Possible Arizona sentencing for first degree murder includes:
- Life without possibility of parole
- Life with possibility of parole
- Death penalty
To gain parole for these crimes, you must serve a minimum of 25 years before gaining a parole hearing. You must serve 35 years before this hearing if you murdered a child under age 15 or an unborn baby.
Second Degree Murder
To be charged with second degree murder, your crime must indicate absence of planning in advance of the criminal actions. In other words, there is no premeditation in second degree murder. Your offenses are tried as second degree murder instead of voluntary manslaughter, as you showed a wanton disregard for your victim’s life. In second degree murder the actions are also not due to the highly emotional or agitated circumstances typically seen in voluntary manslaughter.
Sentencing for second degree murder in Arizona includes mandatory imprisonment for 10 to 25 years.
You Can Face the Death Penalty for Arizona First Degree Murder
Arizona can sentence you to the death penalty for severe murder conviction. If you are convicted of murder in the first degree, you face the possibility of death by lethal injection. This is true only if you are over age 15 when you commit your crime. The death penalty comes into consideration for sentencing when any of the following statements are true of the case, victim or yourself:
- You have prior capital convictions or homicides
- You have prior conviction of a serious offense
- You previously gained a felony conviction with threat of violence or having used violence
- You knowingly created grave risk of death for more victims, beyond the killing of the primary victim
- You committed the act of murder for payment
- Your murder was particularly heinous, depraved or cruel
- Your victim was either under the age of 15 or over the age of 70
- You knew or should have known your victim to be an on-duty law enforcement officer
- You committed murder while in custody of the state department of corrections, a law enforcement agency or jail
You Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for Arizona Murder Charges
Arizona laws are tough on murder defendants. You face the possibility of capital punishment and other serious penalties. This is why you need highly skilled and aggressive criminal defense representation.