Arizona Self Defense Laws for Manslaughter Charges

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.

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Arizona Self Defense Laws for 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.

Arizona 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.

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