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What are the Types of Homicides in Arizona?

David Cantor of the Law Offices of David Michael Cantor in Phoenix Arizona explains the 5 types of homicides as classified by the Arizona legal system.


There are five types of homicide in Arizona applicable under Title 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, Chapters 7.1 (Capital Sentencing) and Chapter 11 (Homicide).

Capital Murder

A capital offense is first degree murder with an aggravating factor such as torture of the victim or mutilation of the corpse. This heinous crime is punishable by death under Arizona law. Sometimes the charge is made erroneously; for instance, an Arizona mother was tried for capital murder when her baby died while in her care. The charges were subsequently dropped because no aggravating factor could be proven.

First-Degree Murder

Arizona law defines first-degree murder is the act of killing someone with premeditation. Premeditation may be as simple as going back to one’s car to procure a deadly weapon, or it may involve months of planning and expressed intent.

Second-degree Murder

A person may be charged with second-degree murder when they are careless with their standard of conduct, leading to the death of someone else. Firing a weapon at a target when there are individuals within range is one example of reckless conduct; killing someone in a bar fight is another.


Manslaughter results from a negligent standard of care as opposed to a careless standard of conduct. The classic example is a drunk driver who collides with another motorist and kills that person.

Negligent Homicide

Manslaughter charges can often be reduced to the lowest level of murder in the Arizona code of law, negligent homicide. Negligent homicide, punishable in some cases with nothing more than probation, is charged when an individual kills someone through a simple act of negligence.

Skilled legal representation is crucial if you are charged with homicide in Arizona because the charges are often more severe than the circumstances warrant. If you would like to speak with a lawyer about any of the different types of homicide in Arizona, please give us a call at (602) 307-0808 to schedule a free case review.

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