If you are under an investigation or have had homicide charges brought against you contact an Arizona criminal defense attorney immediately. There are a number of different offenses that could be brought against you. It is helpful to understand the differences between them because there are a wide variety of sentences associated to each.

First degree murder is the most deliberate type of homicide because it means that the defendant’s actions were willful and premeditated. Arizona is one of the states that utilizes the death penalty as a capital punishment. If convicted of first degree murder in Arizona, you could face the death penalty, life without parole or life with parole. Parole is possible only if it granted and after a minimum of 25 years is served, except in cases where the victim was 15-years-old or younger. In such situation, an additional 10 years would be tacked onto the defendant’s sentence. 

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Typically second degree murder results from a wanton disregard for human life and is not premeditated. A possible example of second degree murder is when someone willfully attacks another and as a result that person dies from their wounds. If you are charged with second degree murder you could be facing 10-25 years in prison.

Voluntary manslaughter is similar to second-degree murder in that it is the willful killing of another, however the emotional state of the perpetrator is altered. That is, the perpetrator was reasonably in a high emotional or agitated state. If convicted of voluntary manslaughter you could face up to 12.5 years in prison. 

Involuntary manslaughter, also known as negligent homicide, is the least severe penal crime that involves taking a life. This is because this type of killing is considered a mistake, rather than intentional. An example of involuntary manslaughter is a drunk driver getting into a car accident and killing someone. Although the drunk driver did not intentionally kill someone, the act of driving while intoxicated was intentional and illegal. The penalty associated with negligent homicide is 3.75 years imprisonment or less.   

Being charged with homicide is serious. Your case should be handled by a knowledgeable legal team if such serious charges have been brought against you. At Van Norman Law, we understand that your future depends on the outcome of your case. We understand that your entire life can be turned upside down and we promise to take your case seriously. We will strive to help you obtain a lower sentence if a full acquittal is unavailable. We are not afraid to take on a tough case. Despite the severity of the crime, Van Norman Law is willing, ready and able to defend you. 

Regardless of the type of charges brought against you, remember that you have rights guaranteed to you by the Constitution. If you are being investigated you have the right to remain silent and the right to have an attorney present. It is important to invoke these rights. If you do not, anything you say can be used against you. When being investigated, respectfully and directly invoke your rights immediately. Even if you think that you did not do anything wrong, do not argue with an officer or detective. Remain calm, stay silent and leave the debating up to Van Norman Law.