Homicide is the killing of a human being by another human being. Homicides are divided into different categories depending on the severity of the crime and the mental state of the defendant at the time in which the killing takes places.

Negligent homicide is at the lower end of the homicides in terms of severity of punishment. Someone commits negligent homicide when the person’s criminal negligence – or carelessness – results in the killing of another person. Negligent homicide is a class 4 felony.

Manslaughter is a step up in severity because the crime is based on a person’s recklessness (as opposed to negligence). Recklessness occurs when someone acts with conscious disregard for a substantial risk of bodily harm or death. Manslaughter can also be charged in killings committed in the heat of passion. Manslaughter is a punishable as a class 2 felony. See A.R.S. § 13-1103.

Second-degree murder occurs when a person, without premeditation, intentionally causes the death of another person. It can also occur when a person recklessly engages in conduct that creates a grave risk of death and death results from that conduct. Second-degree murder is a class 1 felony. See A.R.S. § 13-1104.

The most serious of the homicides is first-degree murder. First-degree murder is the intentional taking of another person’s life with premeditation. See A.R.S. § 13-1105. First-degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable by life in prison or death.

All homicides are extremely serious crimes of which to be accused and/or convicted. If you think you are going to be accused of homicide or are the subject of a homicide investigation, it is critical to contact an attorney who can intervene early on in the process, before charges have been filed. Early intervention can reduce the possibility of a criminal charge being filed and can mitigate the severity of the consequences of the situation. The experienced Arizona criminal defense attorneys at Giordano Spanier & Heckele, PLLC can help. Call today for a consultation: (520) 433-9031. Or email us at info@reallawtucson.com