It is hard to imagine anything more terrifying than being charged with murder in Arizona. While some US states and many countries around the world have abolished the death penalty, and others simply have stopped enforcing it, it is still alive and well in Arizona, where convicts are executed regularly. If your case lacks the aggravating factors needed to be charged as capital murder, you could spend the remainder of your life in prison.  If you manage to be released before your natural death, life on the outside  is none too sunny for a convicted murderer.

If you have been accused of murder in Arizona, your life may be at risk, and your freedom certainly is.

Degrees of Murder and Potential Penalties

First degree murder occurs when a person intentionally causes the death of another person, with premeditation.

In addition, under the felony murder rule, when a death takes place during the commission of certain felonies, it can also be charged as first degree murder, even though there was no intent to kill anyone. Anyone involved in the commission of the felony can be charged with felony murder, even if that person was clearly did not cause the death or even know about it. For example if a person is killed during a robbery inside a building, a person remaining in the designated getaway car who had no knowledge of, or involvement with the killing could still be charged with first degree murder.

Any murder of an on-duty police officer can be charged as first degree murder.

If convicted of first degree murder, you could be facing the death penalty, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with eligibility for parole after 25 years.

Second degree murder is intentionally killing someone, but without premeditation. It can also include causing a death as a result of egregiously reckless behavior, creating a serious risk of death in a way that indicates extreme indifference to human life. DUIs resulting in someone’s death are sometimes charged as second degree murder when blood alcohol content is extremely high.

A second degree murder conviction in Arizona comes with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of 22 years.

Your Right to Counsel

No matter how serious the crime you’re charged with, you have certain constitutional rights, including the right to counsel. Do not answer any questions without your lawyer present. You have everything to lose if you are convicted, so this is a time when you need the best qualified criminal defense lawyer you can find. To be certain of your attorney’s experience and high level of legal knowledge, when the stakes are this high, it is in your best interest to select a defense attorney who has been certified by the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization as a Criminal Law Specialist.

For highly experienced murder defense, call the law offices of Howard N. Snader, LLC, if you have been arrested or if police are attempting to question you. Howard is a Phoenix Arizona Board Certified Criminal Defense Specialist with a superb reputation earned through years of obtaining excellent outcomes for clients in even the most complicated murder cases.

Other Constitutional Rights

You have other important rights provided by the United States Constitution. Howard Snader will examine police procedure before, during, and after your arrest for any deviations that could be construed as a violation of your constitutional rights, in which case the charges could be dismissed or evidence excluded. He will go to great ends to investigate the circumstances that led to your accusation to determine the best defense strategy for your case.  Discrediting prosecution’s witnesses, producing an alibi, showing that you acted in defense of yourself or someone else, or showing that the death was accidental  are a few of the possible defenses that might be used to create a reasonable doubt of your guilt.

Call Your Attorney Without Delay

Call immediately if you’ve been arrested or think you are about to be. Protect your rights, protect your freedom, and protect your future with top-notch legal defense by Howard A. Snader, LLC.