First degree murder occurs in Arizona when someone takes the life of another human being through a premeditated and intentional act.
This is the most serious degree of murder and is punishable as a class 1 felony. The consequences for a first degree murder conviction are steep, going as far as life in prison or death.
Felony Murder in Arizona
A person may also be charged with first degree murder if a death happens during the commission of certain crimes. An individual can be charged under the felony murder rule when a death happens during a felony such as:
To prove felony murder, the prosecutor doesn't need to show that the killing was intentional, but merely a consequence of committing some other felony.
For example, let's say Jodi is armed with a gun and decides to break into her boyfriend's house to steal, pilfer and a kidnap him. If she pulls a gun out and accidentally shoots him in the process, that's felony murder.
Under the felony murder rule, all participants of a felony can be charged with murder if a homicide occurs. This is true even if a participant isn't directly responsible for the death.
The following table highlights the main provisions of Arizona's first-degree and felony murder laws. See also Voluntary Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter, First Degree Murder Defenses, and First Degree Murder Penalties and Sentencing.
|What is Prohibited||
An unlawful killing that was committed deliberately with premeditation and malice aforethought,
murder resulting from the commission of a crime punishable with death or imprisonment for life. (Felony Murder)
A homicide (killing of a human) that takes place in conjunction with a certain felony crimes punishable by death or life in prison, such as robbery, burglary, etc.
|Malice Aforethought||Malice aforethought can include any intent to inflict a serious bodily injury or death upon another person.|
Possible Wrongful Death lawsuit
Death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with parole eligibility after 25 years have been served.
Note: State laws are always changing through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney to make sure you have the most recent information.
Arizona First-Degree Murder: Additional Research
Accused of First Degree Murder? Get a Free Case Review Now
It should go without saying that if you do find yourself facing a first-degree murder charge in Arizona, you should contact a criminal defense attorney for assistance. An Arizona lawyer can review your case, explain how the law works, and even represent you in court. Want to learn more? Start now with a free case review at no obligation.
Contact a qualified attorney.