In most state criminal justice systems, actions that cause death are treated with the utmost seriousness. In this respect, Arizona is not an exception. Among one of several crimes involving killing is Manslaughter Charge, defined in Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1103. Arizona law on charged with Manslaughter has this crime defined broadly, with many possible scenarios potentially giving rise to such a charge. These include intentionally assisting another in committing suicide; intentionally or knowingly killing a person after adequate provocation and in the heat of passion or during a sudden quarrel; intentionally killing another person while being forced to do so due to the threat or use of immediate unlawful deadly force, which “a reasonable person in his situation would have been unable to resist,”; or recklessly causing the death of another person.
A conviction in Arizona on Manslaughter charges carries the potential for significant jail time. If you need a Phoenix manslaughter lawyer or anywhere in Arizona, give us a call or send us a confidential email for a free consultation.
Manslaughter – ARS §13-1103
While “reckless” may mean different things to different people in the lay sense, it has a very specific legal definition. For a defendant’s actions to qualify as “reckless,” they must have been undertaken with an awareness of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result would occur, and that risk was subsequently disregarded. Such a risk is not simply a run-of-the-mill, minimal risk. Instead, it is a risk so serious that ignoring it and acting anyway represents a “gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”
In addition to other settings, a Manslaughter charge in Arizona can arise where vehicles are involved; for example, striking and killing a person while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs would qualify for this charge.
Although Manslaughter is a serious charge, it is much less serious than similar charges such as murder. Criminal defense attorneys can sometimes use this charge at trial or in plea agreements as a reduction from murder charges that would present a potential sentence of life in prison with no parole. If an attorney can establish that a killing was potentially justified or was an accident, then this charge and its lesser sentence is more appropriate than a murder charge.
We have experience with hundreds of homicide cases in Phoenix and the rest of Arizona and our attorneys will help you fight to clear your name and reduce or dismiss the Manslaughter charges. Contact our Phoenix office for a free consultation by calling 602-737-2812 or by using our secure, confidential form below.
Penalty for Manslaughter
Having a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer is crucial when facing these types of charges because the penalties are severe. The Arizona Manslaughter penalty for a first conviction of this class-2 felony subjects a defendant to between seven (7) and twenty-one (21) years in prison, with a presumptive sentence of ten and a half (10.5) years. Having one prior allegeable felony charge, the range increases to between fourteen (14) and twenty-eight (28) years in prison, with a presumptive sentence of fifteen years, nine months (15.75 years). Having two such charges in one’s history further increases the penalty range to between twenty-one (21) and thirty-five (35) years in prison, with a presumptive sentence of twenty-eight (28) years.
Legal Defenses for Manslaughter
Serious charges like this one can be tough to defend, but experienced attorneys such as those at DM Cantor may be able to help you. A criminal defense attorney from our firm may fight your charges by proving in court that your behavior does not meet the “reckless” standard required for this charge. This can be established by showing the risk disregarded was not a substantial one, that the defendant was not aware of the risk, or that the defendant did not act unreasonably under the circumstances.
Additionally, we may be able to assert a “supervening cause” defense where the actions of another person, undertaken after your actions, actually caused the death of the victim. So if you hit someone with your car, but that person was killed by a negligent surgeon in the hospital, this would be a supervening cause.
The Law Offices of David Michael Cantor and our team of defense lawyers will always present a comprehensive defense with arguments we believe will be effective in any case involving murder in Arizona. In addition to charge-specific defenses, more general defenses such as denial of the right to counsel — where the police refuse to allow you to speak with a lawyer after your arrest — or Miranda rights violation — where arresting officers did not read you your rights or you were tricked or forced into giving an involuntary confession.
Cases involving killings also tend to feature many types of technical and scientific evidence, such as DNA tests, fingerprint analysis, gunshot residue testing, and crime scene reconstruction. Our attorneys, many of whom are former prosecutors, know how to look for flaws in these techniques and may help establish your defense by pointing out sloppy or erroneous police work.
All of the lawyers at DM Cantor are listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers®, and David Michael Cantor is a State Certified Criminal Law Specialist. Additionally, the firm has the highest possible rating by Martindale Hubbell®, AV®.
If you need a Manslaughter Attorney in Phoenix or elsewhere in the State of Arizona, contact our office by calling 602-737-2812 or by using our secure, confidential online contact form to set up a free consultation today.