Arizona Homicide Defense Lawyers
There is no more serious criminal charge than murder. Taking the life of another person is an action that will have life-changing consequences for the perpetrator no matter what the outcome of a criminal case. Someone who is facing murder or manslaughter charges must have sold legal representation from the very beginning of a case in order to protect his or her rights and to form a legal defense to the charges. It is extremely rare for a judge to allow someone accused of murder to represent himself or herself due to the nature of a murder case and the intense planning and research needed to prepare an adequate defense.
“Homicide” simply means taking the life of another person. While all homicide victims are dead, not every homicide case involves the same legal statutes or possible outcomes. Most people have a vague idea that some killings are “justified” while others are “murder.” Actually, the situation is more complicated than that.
The law looks at several factors when determining what, if any, charges to make against one person who has taken the life of another person. The law does not consider all homicide to be the same, and often statutes hinge on intent as evidenced by actual or circumstantial evidence. Murder trials, therefore, tend to be complicated legal exercises in which many statutes may apply.
To make homicide statutes easier to understand, it is helpful to group them into basic categories.
- Manslaughter. Manslaughter charges more or less deal with situations in which someone did not “mean” to kill someone but committed some act that led to a death. This does not necessarily mean the death was “accidental,” although there are cases of accidental death that are charged as manslaughter. Manslaughter charges hinge on the fact that the person who committed the act was behaving in an illegal or unsafe manner at the time of the death but not one in which he or she intended to kill someone else.
- Murder. Murder implies intent. There are different classifications of murder such as pre-meditated murder, impulse murder or “emotional” murder, and murder in the commission of another crime such as armed robbery. Each has its own burden of proof for the prosecutor as well as its own level of punishment.
No matter how “minor” a manslaughter or murder charge, these are criminal actions that must be handled carefully. Your future could be at stake, so it is important to secure the services of a criminal defense attorney.