Criminal Negligent Homicide in Arizona: An Overview

criminal negligent homicideWhenever a person commits an act of criminal negligence that causes the death of someone, they will be committing criminal negligent homicide. In Arizona, just like in the rest of the US, criminal negligent homicide can be addressed during both criminal and civil proceedings.

A Definition of Criminal Negligent Homicide

A.R.S. 13-1102 states that a person commits criminal negligent homicide whenever they cause the death of someone (including an unborn child) through criminal negligence. Firing a gun into the air during a family celebration and killing someone is an obvious example of criminal negligent homicide.

As the name suggests, this type of crime involves the killing of another person that is unintentional. In the case of criminal negligent homicide, a person fails realizing that substantial risk exists and their activities could result in the serious harm and eventual death of someone.

Criminal negligent homicide is different from manslaughter because it lacks the reckless element. This means that the sanctions aren’t going to be as severe as in the case of manslaughter.

Examples of Negligent Homicide in Arizona

Driving under the influence and killing a person can lead to negligent homicide charges on top of the DUI charges. Driving aggressively at a very high speed is another kind of negligent behavior that can contribute to someone’s death.

Giving someone a loaded gun without informing them of the safety precautions can lead to a deadly accident. The same applies leaving a kid unattended in car during the summer while you go shopping in the nearby supermarket.

All of these cases are characterized by one and the same thing – there was no intent on behalf of the perpetrator to kill anyone. They, however, should have known better. Based on logic, they should have assessed the risk to refrain from engaging in such actions.

Click here for the statute on criminal negligent homicide in Arizona.

Sanctions and Punishments

Negligent homicide is a serious crime in Arizona.

Usually, a negligent homicide will be examined as a Class 4 felony. A first-time offender will usually get probation with zero days in prison or up to 3.75 years in prison.

People who are committing criminal negligent homicide for a second or a repeat time, however, are going to face much more serious sanctions. A second time offender will face a prison sentence in the range from 2.25 to 7.5 years. A third-time offender can get up to 15 years in prison.

The situation is different whenever criminal negligent homicide is committed through the use of a dangerous instrument. A car is a dangerous instrument and so is a knife. In such instances, the crime will be classified as a Class 4 dangerous felony.

A class 4 dangerous felony carries a prison sentence in the range from four to eight years for a first-time offender. The minimum for a second-time offender is eight years and the maximum is 12 years in prison. For third-time offenders, there will be a prison sentence in the range from 12 to 16 years.

Possible Defense Scenarios

Negligent homicide is a serious crime, which is why you shouldn’t hesitate getting in touch with a very experienced Arizona criminal attorney.

A lawyer may try to prove that the defendant wasn’t at fault for the lethal accident. This is especially applicable to traffic accidents that involve more than one participant.

Alternatively, a lawyer would try to establish the fact that the death would have occurred regardless of the defendant’s actions.

In the case of procedural violations, a good criminal defense attorney could get some of the evidence dismissed. This will diminish the ability of the prosecution to build a solid case and could even contribute to the overall dismissal of the charges.

Find out about the Arizona attorney general and marijuana in Arizona.