Several separate charges can be brought against a person accused of causing the death of another person. Crime is charged on a variety of factors, including the State of mind and motive of the defendant. The illegal act is suspected of manslaughter, less severe than murder. Committing manslaughter could result in significant jail or prison time and hefty fines. If you are charged with manslaughter, you should retain the Phoenix Criminal Attorney immediately. The attorney will challenge the evidence tabled against you and try to have the charges reduced to a lesser crime to avoid a felony criminal record.
Legal Definition Of Manslaughter
Code section A.R.S. 13-1103 broadly defines manslaughter as the illegal killing without explicit or implied intent. Some states differentiate between involuntary manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter. However, in Arizona, if you are accused of ending someone's life, you fall into manslaughter or homicide. The crime is considered manslaughter, but not murder, and typically treated as a less severe crime than murder.
According to the law, the defendant is charged with manslaughter if a sudden quarrel or heat of passion caused death. You are charged with vehicular manslaughter if the killing involved a vehicle or machinery. Besides, an individual accused of manslaughter with no proof of provocation, he or she might be charged with murder.
The statute has many scenarios that possibly give rise to manslaughter crime charges. Some of those possible scenarios include:
Deliberately assisting another person to commit suicide
Intentionally supporting someone to commit suicide is illegal. The law does not permit anyone, including the licensed medical practitioners, to help anyone end his or her life. In case you help someone to commit suicide, you will be charged with manslaughter.
Killing out of provocation or as a crime of passion
This implies that the killing was not planned or premeditated. The crime might have occurred after a heated debate that led to sudden death. So someone's life ended out of provocation. For the prosecutor to charge you with manslaughter in this scenario, he or she must prove you acted with both intent and knowledge.
Intentionally killing someone under coercion
In Arizona, you will still be accused of manslaughter, even if you were forced or threatened to kill someone. The law insists that the threat must be something a reasonable person in that situation could not resist.
Causing the death of someone through recklessness
Recklessly causing the death of someone else could be by anything from shooting somebody while firing a gun while hunting. In such a scenario, the prosecutor must prove that you behaved recklessly; that is, in a way, you were aware it could cause danger to others.
Causing the death of a fetus by hurting the mother
In this case, one might harm an expectant mother leading to the death of an unborn child. The State considers this to be manslaughter. However, some exceptions are pardoned. For instance, there are authorized abortions with the mother's consent. Another situation is where the unborn child was a threat to the mother's health. The doctors who provided medical services to both the mother and the child are exempted from this rule.
If the defendant can no longer walk away from the investigating officer, it is said that the person is under arrest. A particular sequence of events will occur when the police officers arrest you. During the actual arrest process, the officers have to follow appropriate protocols to comply with the defendant's rights.
The Miranda rights protect the suspects who are under arrest to avoid self-incrimination. The supreme court upheld these rights to people who are under investigation on suspicion of committing a crime. The rights are only explained to the individual while in custody and under interrogations.
During the arrest, the police might frisk you to find out whether you have a hidden weapon. Later, while in custody, they perform a full body search and in your surroundings to make sure they gather any evidence of the crime. At the moment, police can take away any personal property you possess. You will be asked to put down your signature on the inventory if you agree.
Upon arrest, the police will book you. They will enquire about your personal information, that is, your names, address, and fingerprint. You can also be required to be a part of a line-up. The booking should take a few hours or overnight. If not, your attorney should obtain a writ of habeas corpus. The judge issued this order with instructions for the officers to take you to court to determine whether you are being held legally.
Punishments For Manslaughter
Many factors affect the final sentence of a manslaughter conviction, also known as class 2 felony. Those factors include previous felonies, and if a dangerous weapon was used to commit the crime. If convicted, the person may face a prison sentence depending on the specific circumstances of the charge.
If the defendant has no previous felony convictions, the offender will be charged as A.R.S. 13-702 (D), where the offense is considered not dangerous. The offender faces the following penalties:
Three years for a mitigated sentence
For years for a minimum sentence
Five years for presumptive sentences
Ten years for a maximum sentence
Twelve and a half years for an aggravated sentence
Those defendants with prior felonies or the offense were dangerous, and the penalty goes beyond the twelve and a half years. In this case, the sentencing is based on aggravating factors like mental or physical state of the victim and recruiting compliance. Moreover, the criminal sentence may also include jail time or hefty fines, probation, and surcharges.
In addition to the punishment, the defendant is faced with life consequences like lack of government assistance, lack of employment, ineligible to pursue further education, and loss of civil rights. This range of sentencing can be intimidating, so you need exceptional counsel from Phoenix Criminal Attorney.
Only first-time offenders of manslaughter crime offenders are eligible for probation. A defendant could not be granted probation if they had committed other felonies before in the same State. The jury makes the final judgment to place the accused on probation if they plead guilty or were found guilty at the trial.
The length of the probation is decided by the judge. However, the maximum length is determined by the class of felony. Most probation takes three to seven years based on the nature of the offense and felony classification.
At times, the Judge may grant the accused lifetime probation. However, they don't last as long as you expect. One can petition the court and request for probation termination and receive an expunged record benefit. For the probation to be removed, the judge has to weigh certain factors, including if you are at risk of committing the offense again, your performance during probation, views of the victim, and your therapist's recommendations.
When you get the expungement, your criminal record is erased. The legal criminal offense is set aside. No one, including potential employers or landlords who can access your criminal background, will find any record of the expunged crime.
Criminal Court Process
In manslaughter cases, the illegal actions are defined under section A.R.S. 13-1103. The crime is punishable by imprisonments, fines, and probation. The prosecutor represents the State to accuse the crime offender. The judge ensures that the accused rights are respected, and the constitutional provision required rights are accorded to the victims of crime. Below is the court procedure of the criminal case.
1. The accused is detained by law enforcement personnel who perhaps witnessed the criminal act or even have sufficient evidence for an arrest. The defendant has to be brought before the judge within 24 hours, or released.
2. The defendant shall reveal identifying details, including name and address, at the initial appearance. The judge tells the suspect of the proceedings, rights to Parole, and rights to be served by a defense lawyer.
3. A preliminary hearing is held on the 3rd level. The evidence must be provided to the judge and witness testimony if there is proof from both the prosecution and the defendant. If the court determines that there are adequate grounds for concluding that the defendant has engaged the manslaughter, the accused shall be held in the Superior Court for trial, and an arraignment date shall be fixed.
4. The defendant is compelled at the arraignment to make a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Our counsel urges our clients to file a plea of not guilty so that we can appeal the prosecution with good arguments. The judge would then set a jury date.
5. The prosecutor first talks at the court by providing a summary of the evidence which will be portrayed. The defense attorney could decide not to make an opening statement in the trial until later. The prosecutor will call for a direct examination of the witnesses. The defendant attorney can bring proof and witnesses to prove the defendant was not on the wrong side.
After the defense and the prosecution have submitted their evidence, each side's closing arguments are made. This is a way of addressing the judge the final time. The judge then reads orders to justify the rule applying to manslaughter, which they follow to reach a verdict. Depending on the jury's verdict, a convicted defendant may file an appeal with the supreme court with the help of The State prescribes a minimum jail sentence for a criminal offender.
If you are a chronic criminal offender or a first-time offender convicted of a minimum jail sentence, for that reason, we are hesitant to recommend a guilty plea unless we feel the prosecutor will be able to prove that you committed the offense.
Common Defenses Against Manslaughter
The prosecutors will approach the manslaughter crime depending on the intent. Since it is presumed that a person intended to end another person's life in manslaughter and the action lacks premeditation. The criminal attorney has several defenses to raise if you stand accused of manslaughter. The common defenses include:
Self- defense: The defendant acted in Self-defense after being provoked. The attorney may argue that the defendant acted in an equal amount of force in responding to the aggressor. The action was out of honesty and reasonable belief that the manslaughter was necessary for self-defense. Their case may be acquitted if the accused was deemed essential to protect themselves or their property.
Acted under duress: The accused believed that physical violence could nullify the danger and avoid death. The accused may have acted to prevent otherwise unavoidable circumstances that could lead to severe injuries. It is required that an average person would have acted the same way if in a similar situation.
Intoxication: The defendant was involuntarily intoxicated, which hindered the State of mind. An attorney can challenge the evidence stating that the accused was involuntarily intoxicated. Meaning the crime was committed under the influence of a substance that the defendant had no clue about it.
Insufficient evidence: The victim may not have died on the spot but later succumbed to injuries. In this case, the accused might have fought with the victim who had other injuries that led to death. This is a strong defense as the prosecutor has to prove the defendant caused the death using a postmortem that needs extra funds.
Mental illness: The State of the defendant's mind is a primary element to a criminal act. A defendant is assumed to be of sound mind and judgment despite committing criminal acts. To prove the mental illness, the defense requires that the evidence was caused by a defect of the accused's mind. The mental illnesses that count in the manslaughter defense include Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia.
It was an accident: Accidents do happen without being reckless or negligent. The defense can challenge the evidence that the defendant acted irresponsibly. It could be an action that occurred without the accused knowledge that the action could result in someone's death.
Entrapment: This defense is viable when law enforcement solicits a person to commit manslaughter, which they could not have committed. If your attorney proves the sign of entrapment, your case may be dismissed.
Crime prevention: The defendant might have committed manslaughter crime while preventing another crime. The defense attorney has to prove that the defendant was reasonable in the intervention. This defense is best, mainly when the defendant is a law enforcement or a security officer in a firm.
The prosecutor might dismiss the charges if any part of the investigations was wrongfully conducted. Additionally, in the heat of rage, prosecutors need to prove that you were trying to kill a person through provocation. This may be difficult, especially if only two persons were present to substantiate the case, one of whom is the defendant, the other is deceased.
What The Prosecutors Must Prove
The prosecutors have the burden to prove the manslaughter charges. They need to verify the intent of the defendant to commit the crime. They must show that another person died due to the conduct of the defendant. The prosecutor will not stop short of charging you with the severe manslaughter penalty possible. You must have a qualified criminal attorney to fight for your rights.
For you to be convicted, it must be proven that the killing was out of recklessness. This is an action that is an extreme departure from the way a reasonable person would think. The prosecutor must show that the death resulted from a logical foreseeable consequence of your reckless conduct.
What seems as "reasonable" varies on each case's circumstances. However, the defendant will be judged based on what could have been expected of a reasonable and sober person sharing all of that particular defendant's characteristics. The prosecutor would have to consider everything about the mental and emotional potential of the defendant's situations and make rational judgments and choices.
Another factor that the court must consider to prove the crime is the length of time between provocation and the manslaughter itself. If there were enough time for the defendant to have calmed himself or herself, then the argument for irrational thought and lack of judgment would not hold against the jury. In case there was a heated argument or fight that led to someone's death, the prosecutor will have to prove the defendant reacted with sound reason and purpose, not in the heat of the moment.
Contact A Phoenix Criminal Attorney Near Me
Manslaughter charges are incredibly severe. Not only will you serve an extended time in prison, but the charges will also harm your future. You may feel frightened, anxious, and uncertain of what the future holds if you have been accused of manslaughter. Obtain legal counsel immediately. Phoenix Criminal Attorney is competent, experienced, and has the knowledge to handle death-related cases. We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and providing excellent legal representation. Contact us at 602-551-8092 today to have your freedom protected.