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Homicide Cases

Arizona Homicide Defense Attorney

Homicide: the killing of one individual at the hands of another human being. Perhaps no other class of crimes catches the headlines and enflames the passions of the community quite like homicide cases. When someone is accused of a homicide offense, it is easy for community members to rush to judgment and the rights of the defendant to be ignored in favor of wanting “swift justice.” As any defendant wrongly convicted of a crime can say, however, swift justice that denies the defendant a fair trial is no justice at all.

If you, a family member, or friend is charged with a homicide offense, you are in a perilous situation and need immediate, experienced, and zealous legal advocacy. You need representation from an Arizona defense attorney who is knowledgeable about the law and procedures in these types of cases and is willing to fight for your freedom. Mr. Ferragut has two decades of successful experience fighting murder cases, including high-profile cases that have made local and national news.

Type of Homicide Offenses in Arizona

The law in Arizona recognizes that not all homicides are the same and therefore the penalties for homicide cases should depend on the circumstances of each case. There are four main types of homicide cases: what you are charged with will depend in large part on the amount of thought and deliberation that preceded the killing:

  • First degree murder charges are filed when a death has occurred and the defendant premeditated before committing the killing. Premeditation does not have to occur over a long period of time, nor does there have to be an elaborate plan for premeditation to be found. All that is required is evidence that the defendant had some opportunity to consider or deliberate whether or not to kill the victim. A person found guilty of first degree murder can be sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after 25 years, natural life with no possibility of parole, or the death penalty.
  • Second degree murder is committed when a killing is done intentionally but there was no premeditation. Second degree murder is also an appropriate charge when a killing is committed “knowingly” (but not intentionally) or when a killing is committed with extreme indifference for the life of another. Second degree murder is punishable by between 10 and 25 years in prison.
  • Manslaughter is an appropriate charge where the defendant recklessly killed the victim, such as sometimes occurs when there is a sudden quarrel or fight. A conviction for manslaughter can result in a prison sentence of 7 to 25 years in prison.
  • Negligent homicide, like its name implies, occurs when the defendant engages in grossly negligent or careless conduct and someone dies as a result. Bringing out a gun and showing it off in a crowded room by pretending to shoot guests (but believing the gun is empty and would not fire a bullet if the trigger was pulled) is an example of this type of negligent conduct. A conviction for negligent homicide can carry with it a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Unlike other forms of homicide, however, a person convicted of negligent homicide may be placed on probation instead of being sentenced to prison.

If you, a family member or friends is involved in a homicide incident, the police are already suspicious of you. In their excitement, some defendants agree to speak with police and tell their side of the story. Resist the temptation to do this without first speaking to an experienced Arizona homicide defense attorney. Your words will almost certainly be used against you at any resulting trial. Unless you understand the facts that need to be proven to convict you of a homicide offense, you lack the insight to know just how much your words can hurt your case. You have the right to remain silent and the right to consult with an attorney. Use it!

Type of Homicide Offenses in Arizona

Homicide cases require a great deal of investigation and preparation in order to present a winning defense. The sooner you retain experienced and skilled homicide defense legal counsel, the better your defense and outcome will be. When working with your attorney, it is essential that you are completely truthful and candid with him or her. Your attorney needs to know all relevant facts – even those you believe are hurtful to your case – so that he or she can thoroughly investigate all possible defenses.

A homicide case is not the case to hire your family’s lawyer or your childhood best friend who became a lawyer if he or she is not experienced in handling homicide cases. There are certain procedures that must be followed if you wish to raise certain defenses like insanity, alibi or self defense. Failure to investigate or raise these defenses properly can result in you being unable to present evidence supporting your defense at trial.

Possible defenses to homicide charges include:

  • Self-defense or defense of another. You killed the victim because he or she presented an imminent risk of serious harm or death to yourself or to another. This usually requires the jury to find that you were reasonable in using deadly force and that you were not the aggressor in the confrontation (in other words, you did not start the fight).
  • Alibi. This defense is used when you were not at the place of the homicide on the date and/or time the homicide took place and others can verify your whereabouts. Witnesses will need to be interviewed, documents obtained and materials preserved in a timely manner to support this defense.
  • Insanity. The insanity defense applies if you suffered from a mental disease or condition that made it impossible for you to know that what you were doing at the time was wrong. This defense, if successful, may have the unpleasant result of the court ordering the accused to involuntary confinement at a psychiatric hospital.

Special Considerations of Homicide Case

Those charged with a homicide offense will be in for a long and grueling process. It can take months or even years before your case is ready to proceed to trial or is resolved.

The best way to protect your rights and interests when you are charged with murder or another homicide offense is to immediately speak with Ulises A. Ferragut, Jr. at the Ferragut Law Firm. Contact him by calling 602-324-5300 or at 602-370-4597 if calling at night and on weekends. He has successfully represented defendants in several high-profile homicide cases and will bring this knowledge and experience to your case to achieve outstanding results. If you need a Los Angeles Homicide Attorney contact Daniel Perlman.

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