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No matter which state you reside in, physical conduct that leads to death will be dealt with with the same resolve as any other crime. In this respect, Arizona also has laws in place that govern manslaughter.
According to Arizona laws, in short, the definition of manslaughter is when a person recklessly causes, or is involved with, the death of another individual.
Specifically, the statute governing manslaughter is known as ARS 13-1103. Under this statute, the Manslaughter charge is a broad term that involves a variety of situations that can lead to the crime. Manslaughter can include assisted suicide, knowingly causing death in response to provocation, knowingly killing a person due to a threat, or using deadly force when less deadly reasonable methods could have been used.
The amount of prison time for manslaughter is significant under Arizona law. This is why it is important to have the best defense lawyer representation for your manslaughter charges.
Defining ARS 13-1103 – Manslaughter under Arizona Law
Manslaughter can include recklessly causing the death of another person. In order for manslaughter to be determined as reckless, it must be proven that the individual was aware of the risk that death could result and that they ignored that risk. When a risk is involved, it is not just any risk. In fact, it is a serious risk that involves a person deviating from normal conduct often seen among people who are reasonable.
In Arizona, manslaughter can also be established by the reckless use of a vehicle, such as if a defendant is under the influence while driving and kill someone. This situation would accurately classify as a vehicular manslaughter charge.
Even though a charge of Manslaughter has major consequences, it is considered to be less severe as compared to other similar charges, like murder.
The criminal defense lawyers at Colburn Hintze Maletta would be able to work to reduce a murder charge to manslaughter instead. If it can be established as manslaughter and that it was justified, then the sentence would be less severe.
Penalties for Manslaughter Charges in Arizona
When you are facing a serious charge like manslaughter, it is imperative to have the best defense attorney available in Arizona. When you do, you will have a fighting chance against a severe penalty for the crime.
In fact, the penalties for a first-time class-2 felony manslaughter charge can be a minimum prison term of seven (7) years or a maximum prison term of 21 years.
The sentence can be increased if the individual has previous felonies.
Defending Against Manslaughter Charges
Defending manslaughter charges can be difficult. However, when you have an attorney such as Dave Maletta, Tim Hintze, and Darin Colburn who are well experienced and handling these situations, then you will have much greater odds of being defended successfully. This success will stem from proving that recklessness was not the driving force that the charge requires. This proof can show that there was no disregard for the risk involved with the action.
A defense of supervening cause can be used when another person can be determined as the one causing the death. An example of this is when a patient dies in surgery after being hit by her car.
When a case involves manslaughter, a variety of methods are used to collect evidence. Some of these methods involve the reconstruction of crime scenes, analyzing fingerprints, testing DNA, and testing residue from guns. The defense attorney representing you should be able to find any flaws that the testing may have so that a stronger defense can be created. These tests may also show inaccurate work that was done by the police.
Self-Defense Justification to Manslaughter Charges
When defending yourself, there are laws where you are permitted to use physical force under the self-defense laws in Arizona.
According to the self-defense laws in Arizona, conduct resulting in death is justified when it is immediately necessary to protect oneself against another’s use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force.
The law governing self-defense is not applicable for those who take part in a provocation through words or are attempting to resist arrest, regardless of the arrest being unlawful, except if the force of the arrest by the officer is excessive in nature.
Self-defense also does not apply to conduct in response to provocation when the provoker has stopped their provocation or withdrawn. It is also not valid when the intent is clear that an individual is leaving but a safe withdrawal is not possible.
Besides the justification defense methods above, there are also other situations where deadly force can be used in order to prevent a crime, such as the below:
- Sexual assault
- Armed robbery
- Molestation of a child
- Sexual Misconduct
Under ARS 13-411, the Castle Doctrine permits the occupants to use reasonable force in order to protect themselves and to remain where they are legally authorized to be.
This doctrine permits deadly force in the event that an intruder has made their way inside to cause harm or damage.
Arizona Stand Your Ground Law
Other self-defense doctrines in Arizona include a defense known as the Stand Your Ground. What this means is that Arizona’s self-defense justification law does not require you to retreat when responding to a threat of deadly violence. An example is under ARS 13-411.
An individual can defend themself if the altercation was not begun by them and they responded in order to prevent injury or being killed.
Implementing Self-Defense During Domestic Violence
Self-defense laws in Arizona can apply to domestic violence offenses. A great example of this is if a woman in Arizona kills her husband with a gun. The prosecution will likely state that the fight occurred due to the purchase of the gun.
However, the defense will likely use a justification defense stating that she was protecting herself because of the continuous amount of domestic violence she endured throughout the marriage. This would make her conduct to defend herself reasonable under the circumstances.
The “Reasonable Person” Standard
Under this standard, it is commonly referred to as a person who uses caution to conduct actions that are reasonable.
When this justification defense is used, the defendant needs to prove that their defense was used within reason or when fear was presumed.
The deciding factor will be the burden of proof that the prosecution must now prove in order for them to have more than reasonable doubt.
Arizona Charges Surrounding Self-defense
When you have acted in self-defense, you must invoke your right to silence and decline to answer any questions concerning the circumstances prior to talking to your attorney first. Having an attorney to talk to first is a constitutional right so that self-incrimination can be avoided.
Even though it is your right to act in self-defense, this does not mean you will not be charged. However, you may not be convicted if your actions were justified by self-defense.
All cases involving a justification defense, stand-your-ground doctrine, or self-defense laws in Arizona have a certain number of details that need to be proven in order to justify an act of self-defense. It is also needed to establish that your fear was reasonable and that the amount of force used was reasonable.
Your defense should include all of the history leading up to the injury or death occurring to determine a historical record concerning violence or if there was a connection between the parties involved. When the parties do not know each other, then there will be a higher chance that innocence will prevail.
No matter what, reasonable doubt must be established for charges dropped and acquittal to be awarded by a jury.
For convictions to stick, the prosecution must prove a reckless act took place that led to manslaughter and that the accused felt an indifference toward other human life.
Your defense team will perform a thorough investigation in order to have a solid justification defense.
Speak with Professional Defense Attorneys Now & Secure Your Rights
When you are facing manslaughter charges, you need an absolute dream team of attorneys and paralegals whose sole mission is to work tirelessly to secure your freedom.
Colburn Hintze Maletta is an award-winning and ranked best criminal defense law firm well-known in the legal community all over Arizona for its tenacity and dedication inside and outside of the courtroom. Clients love us, and prosecutors fear us. When you become a client of CHM Law, we provide the best amount of representation to achieve the victory you seek. Give us a call now at (602) 825-2500 so we can get to work on your defense.
About The Author
Timothy Hintze is a well-respected and aggressive trial lawyer having represented clients in courts throughout the state of Arizona. He has litigated hundreds of criminal matters ranging from complex felony cases to misdemeanor offenses, as well as a dedicated advocate for family law clients. Tim was also awarded the distinction of being named a Super Lawyers Rising Star and selected by the National Trial Lawyers Association as a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney.
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“The calm in the middle of my storm…”
I, recently, consulted with Darin after my wife filed for divorce. He was referred to me by a friend whom I very much trust. Darin was the antithesis of the first two attorneys I consulted (who were matter-of-fact and had very little empathy about the fact that I was struggling emotionally with what was transpiring). From the first few minutes of speaking with Darin, it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable and skilled with divorce and family matters. While that was most important to me, the thing that made the difference was his calming, logical, and empathetic approach. He took the time to listen and empathize with me. He took the time to understand what I wanted to achieve through this process and laid out my options. After the consultation, I knew he would be my attorney if I had to pull the trigger. I, ultimately, didn’t have to engage Darin’s services due to a reconciliation with my wife. I hope I never have to go through that process again, however, if I do, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I will be hiring to represent me…Darin R. Colburn. Darin, thank you for caring and being more than an attorney.
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“There is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David”
I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.
Jacob - AVVO Review
“Because of Darin I got my daughter back”
Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!
Chris - AVVO Review
“I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.”
Dave stayed with me while he pushed back and forth with Covid-19 and the delays with court. Once cited, the state basically decides that you’re guilty through the automatic suspension of your drivers license. Dave immediately took care of that problem and I never lost the privilege of driving. Dave took notes like crazy and was upfront about our uphill battle. I was also well aware that the plea deal that was given to us, was unacceptable and through Dave’s knowledge and experience I had put my trust in him to guide me to make the right decision on how to proceed. With Dave’s guidance I had decided that we needed to fight for something better than what the prosecutor was offering and Dave was 100 percent behind me on that decision. We knew the risks, be we also knew we had very little to lose based on the prosecutions stance. We decided to go to trial… Watching the prosecution and then watching Dave was night and day!! It was clear to the jury that the prosecution didn’t have their facts straight and were not addressing the facts that they could not address…There was a lot at stake for my personal life and my work life. I was found NOT GUILTY. Dave won the trial for me.
Gregory - AVVO Review
“Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently”
I had an incident and was Given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at was answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future and as of right now they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.
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I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.