Facing Second Degree Murder Charges In Phoenix?

Second Degree Murder

A single moment can change lives in a sad and heart-breaking way, such as a momentary loss of control or a tragic accident which results in the loss of life. In situations such as these, it is safe to assume that law enforcement will do everything they can to charge and convict the person they believe to be responsible. This will often mean the whole might of the state will be against the accused, which makes it even more important that the accused gets honest and accurate legal advice from a skilled and highly experienced attorney when facing such charges.

What is Second Degree Murder?

You may have often heard about the varying degrees which describe murder. First degree murder is the most serious as it involves an element of premeditation to the acts that caused a person’s death.

Second degree murder is where the act that causes death does not have that element of premeditation, so generally deals with ‘spur of the moment’ acts that lead to a person’s death. This could be something like instinctively and violently lashing out in a way that is likely to kill, such as shooting someone during an argument. It involves having a momentary intention to kill at the time of the victim’s death.

The instinctive element is what separates second degree from first degree murder, which includes having some time to think about your actions before you kill. This is also distinct from manslaughter, as manslaughter relates to unintentionally killing someone.

This can be found in Arizona law at A.R.S 13-1104 and is considered a class 1 felony punishable by between 10 to 22 years in prison if found guilty.

What does the law require?

To be convicted of the crime, a prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. Without premeditation, you intentionally or knowingly killed another person; or
  2. Without premeditation, knowing that your actions will cause serious physical injury, you cause the death of another person; or
  3. Your reckless actions, which showed extreme indifference to human life and created a grave risk of death, caused the death of another person.

Some helpful definitions:

  • Intentionally means that a person acts with the objective of killing another person,
  • Knowingly means that a person is aware that his/her act could result in someone’s death,
  • Recklessly means that a person engages in an act although he/she is aware that it creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of serious harm or death.

Defenses to Second Degree Murder

If you find yourself accused of second-degree murder, it is vital that you speak to an experienced and highly skilled lawyer to advise you on your case and what your options are to provide you with the best defense possible under the law.

The most common defenses under Arizona law are:

Did not act intentionally: If you can show that you had no intent to kill or cause serious injury at the time of the person’s death. For instance, you accidentally discharge your firearm and kill someone.

 

Self-Defense (of yourself or others): This means being able to show that at the time of the person’s death, that you feared that you were, or someone was, in imminent danger of physical harm, and it was necessary to use physical force to protect yourself in the circumstances as you believed them to be at the time, even if there turned out to be no actual danger. This would apply if you did not provoke the encounter that led to the person’s death.

 

Crime Prevention: You may use deadly physical force against another person if you reasonably believed that deadly physical force was immediately necessary to prevent the other person from committing one of the listed crimes in A.R.S. § 13-411(A) including:

  • Arson of an occupied structure
  • Burglary in the second or first degree
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Second degree murder
  • First degree murder
  • Sexual conduct with a minor
  • Sexual assault
  • Child molestation
  • Armed robbery
  • Aggravated assault (causing serious physical injury or using a deadly weapon/dangerous instrument)

‘Sudden Quarrel’ or Heat of Passion: If you can show that the murder was committed following a sudden quarrel or heat of passion as a result of the victim doing something to you that causes a reasonable person to lose control, then you may have your conviction downgraded to the less serious offense of Manslaughter, not Second-Degree Murder.

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side during stressful times such as these can help provide you with the best defense against serious charges, and who can walk you through the trial process from start to finish. The experienced homicide legal team at the Nava Law Firm are here to help you. Call to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

WHY CHOOSE NAVA LAW?

  • Treats you like an individual, not a case.
  • Extensive experience in defending clients against Drug Crime charges.
  • Will provide you aggressive representation.
  • Will make sure you understand your rights.
  • Will do anything in their power to dismiss or reduce your case.
Second Degree Murder
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We have experience managing violent cases that fall under the categories of murder and manslaughter. Out of respect for all Nava Law Firm clients that fall under this case type, we are not providing any information on our website. If you or a loved one have been charged with one of these serious charges, do not speak to police officers and please contact our firm immediately to get a free consultation.

Actuation:
Second in time DUI
Case Result:
Charge reduced with no jail

Woman was charged with her second DUI within 7 years after being involved in a collision in Scottsdale. Through our investigation, we found multiple mistakes made by the arresting officer. These errors were used      to get the prosecution to reduce the alleged offense to a charge with no jail time.