Watch this short video where David explains Second Degree Murder in Arizona:
According to A.R.S. §13-1104, there are three ways that a person can be charged with Second Degree Murder, and each one requires there to be a lack of premeditation. This means that planning on a significant length of time did not occur before the act. These include:
- A person acted with intention to cause the death of another person.
- A person knew their conduct or actions could cause death and another person died as the result of such actions.
- A person engaged in an act of reckless conduct that reflects indifference to life and this conduct contributed to the death of another person.
It is important to recognize that second-degree murder charges are those acts that were not planned in advance. Although they are similar to manslaughter charges, it is also important to understand that the accused must have been under the influence of intense passion for a killing to be considered manslaughter. When a murder is charged in the second degree, the accused would have been under no such influence.
More Information on First Degree Murder
Potential Penalties for Second-Degree Murder
The possible punishments for this charge can range from a minimum of 10 years in prison to 16 years presumptive prison time or a maximum of 22 years in prison. This time is counted day-for-day which means that sentences cannot be reduced for good behavior and early release cannot be granted. A murder to the second-degree charge is not eligible for the death penalty. For this reason, we often try to convince the prosecution to consider charging a person with second degree rather than first degree murder.
Defenses Used For Second-Degree Murder Charges
There are two main defenses that are most commonly used against these charges. These include “self-defense” and “supervening cause”. When self-defense is used a part of the defense strategy, we argue that the defendant was put in a situation that caused them to use deadly force in an effort to protect themselves. A supervening cause defense involves proving that the defendant’s actions did not actually cause the death of the victim and instead their death was the result of other causes such as a medical error. Due to the complexity of these types of defenses, it takes a full team of experts that may include professionals with expertise in the fields of accident reconstruction, gunshot residue analysis, DNA analysis and human psychology. David Michael Cantor has first chaired, and is death penalty qualified, and he has experience in handling numerous capital murder casess during his career.
In addition to these two common defenses, our law firm uses a multi-angle approach to ensure that no possible defense is left uncovered. During our investigation, we often discover that our defendants’ Constitutional rights have been violated. For this reason, one of our other more commonly used defenses involves proving that a person was not granted their Miranda rights. In Arizona, it is necessary for all statements to have been issued voluntarily before they are admissible in court as evidence. If police coercion occurred or you were not granted access to a qualified attorney, then it may be possible to use this information in your defense. It is also possible to expose sloppy investigative practices by the prosecution, incorrect police reports and other forensic flaws to your advantage during your case. However, it is important to act quickly and initiate an investigation early on so that all evidence can be uncovered by our team.
When you are facing second degree murder charges in Arizona, it is important to have a respected and aggressive criminal defense lawyer at your side. David Michael Cantor is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist designated by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization and his firm is AV® rated (highest rating possible) by Martindale-Hubbell®. For a free initial consultation, click here or contact us at (602) 307-0808 so that we can get started defending your charges right away.