It goes without saying manslaughter is a very serious crime in Arizona -- one that can permanently affect your future. This charge carries stiff penalties, including long prison sentences and significant fines. These can devastate your future, including your family's. If you have been charged with manslaughter in Northern Arizona, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney today to protect your freedom, your finances, and your future.
The criminal defense attorneys at The Hamp Law Offices understand that you are not guilty until proven so "beyond a reasonable doubt" by a jury of your peers and will fight to protect your rights by building the strongest defense for you.
Manslaughter or Negligent Homicide?
In Arizona, manslaughter is "recklessly causing the death of another person." The legal definition of "recklessly" is a person who understands that action carries the risk of death but chooses to commit the action anyway.
Arizona does not have separate charges for "voluntary" and "involuntary" manslaughter but does have a negligent homicide, where a person causes the death of another person due to risky behavior. The difference between the two is that the manslaughter charge alleges that the person understood hisser her actions could cause the death of another, while someone charged with negligent homicide did not have this knowledge.
What Constitutes Manslaughter?
A person may commit manslaughter in several ways. These include:
- Intentionally or knowingly causing the death of another person during the "heat of passion" where the victim provoked the offender. The key words here are "intentionally" and "knowingly." A person must understand that his actions could cause another person's death, but these actions are not premeditated. Instead, they occur during a sudden quarrel.
- Intentionally killing another person when faced with immediate unlawful deadly force. In this case, a person would be charged with manslaughter if "a reasonable person in his situation would have been unable to resist"killing the other person.
- Assisting another person in committing suicide. Medically assisted suicide is illegal in Arizona, so a medical professional who assists someone in committing suicide can be criminally charged.
- Injuring a pregnant woman and causing death to her unborn child. Medical professionals are an important exemption. Those performing authorized abortions or providing medical services to the mother or unborn child are not charged with manslaughter.
Manslaughter is a Class 2 felony in Arizona. A first-time felony offender faces between 7 and 21 years in prison, with a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years. Offenders with a previous felony conviction face longer prison sentences between 14 and 28 years, with a presumptive sentence of 15 years 9 months. Additionally, Arizona courts may order anyone convicted of a felony to pay fines up to $150,000.
Defending Your Future
The attorneys at The Hamp Law Offices understand the seriousness of a manslaughter charge. This can have a permanent, negative effect on your future. If you or a loved one have been charged with manslaughter in Northern Arizona, including Mohave, Yavapai, La Paz, and Coconino Counties, call The Hamp Law Offices today at 928-753-6868 to protect your freedom and your assets.