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In the State of Arizona, the term “homicide” refers to (1) first degree murder,
(2) second degree murder, (3) manslaughter, or (4) negligent homicide.
1. First degree murder
According to A.R.S §13-1105, first degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable
by death or life imprisonment. Under Arizona State Legislature, a person commits first
degree murder if they intentionally or knowingly cause the death of another human
being, including an unborn child by premeditating (meaning that the person had the
intention or the knowledge that they will kill another human being and where they have
had the time to reflect on the situation) the death of another person and thereby causing
the death of an unborn child. However, if in any stage of the unborn child’s
development, the person was performing an abortion that has been consented to by the
pregnant woman or by a person legally authorized to make that decision this statute
would not apply. It also does not apply when someone was giving medical treatment to
the pregnant woman or to the unborn child, or if they are the child’s mother.
` Additionally, if a person, either alone or with another person or persons, is
attempting to commit any of the following crimes and causes the death of another
person, it may be classified as first degree murder:
- §13-1405 – Sexual conduct with a minor
- §13-1406 – Sexual Assault
- §13-1410 – Molestation of a child
- §13-2308.01 - Terrorism
- §13-3405 subsection A, par. 4 – Possession, use, production, sale or transportation
- §13-3407 subsection A, par. 4 and 7 – Possession, use, administration, acquisition.
Sale, manufacture or transportation of a dangerous drug
- §13-3408 subsection A, par. 7 – Possession, use, administration, acquisition,
sale, manufacture or transportation of narcotic drugs
- § 13-3409 – Involving or using minors in drug offenses
- § 13-1209 – Drive by shooting; forfeiture; driver license revocation
- §13-1304 – Kidnapping
- § 13-1506 – Burglary in the third degree
- § 13-1507 – Burglary in the second degree
- § 13-1508 – Burglary in the first degree
- § 13-1703 – Arson of a structure or property
- §13-1704 – Arson of an occupied structure
- § 13-1904 – Armed robbery
- § 13-2503 – Escape in the second degree
- §13-2504 – Escape in the first degree
- §13-3623, subsection A, par. 1 – Child or vulnerable adult abuse
- § 28-622.01 – Failure to comply with police officer
Furthermore, a person could also be charged with first degree murder if they
intentionally or knowingly cause the death of a law enforcement in the line of duty.
Even if they don’t have the intention to cause the death of another person, by having the
intention to commit any of the above crime, the charge will be considered to be first
2. Second degree murder
Second degree murder is also a class 1 felony and is nearly identical to first degree
murder with many elements being the same. However, one of the biggest differences is
that first degree murder involves premeditation while second degree murder does not.
A.R.S §13-1104 also specifies that if a person expresses extreme indifference for others’
safety and causes the death of a person or an unborn child through their reckless
behavior, they could be charged with second degree murder.
Manslaughter is a class 2 felony. A.R.S §13-1103 states that manslaughter is
committed when a person recklessly causes the death of another person, commits
second degree murder during a heated discussion or in the “heat of the moment” and
the person was provoked to the point of losing self control, commits second degree
murder while being coerced or threatened by deadly force, or knowingly or recklessly
causing the death of an unborn child by physically hurting the mother. This does not
include, however, when the person is performing an abortion that was consented to
(implied or otherwise) by the pregnant woman. It also excludes when the person was
performing medical treatment on the woman or unborn child, or if the person being
accused is the unborn child’s mother.
4. Negligent Homicide
A person can be found guilty of negligent homicide if they carelessly or irresponsibly
cause the death of another person, including an unborn child. The same exceptions
apply in case of the death of an unborn child as mentioned in homicide and
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