Homicide Defense Attorneys

Homicide is of the most serious criminal charges that can be brought against an individual. Although homicide encompasses many situations, murder is often most closely associated with the charges. The killing of another human being is viewed by society as a particularly heinous crime, and thus such charges come with extremely serious consequences. In order to best mitigate such outcomes, it is important to contact an experienced homicide defense attorney. As a criminal defense attorney, John Lyke specializes in aggressively defending those accused of homicide.

What is Homicide?

Homicide is most broadly defined as any killing of a human, and thus may not always be considered a crime. Most often, these legal exceptions are known as justifiable homicides. Justifiable homicides include killing in justified self-defense, killing in defense of another, or killing to prevent another serious crime from being committed. However, homicides frequently do violate United States law, and are thus considered criminal. These cases are prosecuted very seriously and charges come with life-altering repercussions. As a result, in such cases, it is imperative for the defendant to obtain an experienced homicide defense attorney to fight on their side. An attorney will help develop a comprehensive strategy to achieve the best outcome for the case and the client.

Types of Homicide

In the state of Arizona, homicide charges are classified into four different types, in order of increasing severity:

Each homicide classification is outlined in a different section of the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), and comes with different penalties. However, all of the aforementioned homicide charges come with very serious, life-altering consequences. Thus, when faced with any of these charges it is crucial to have a homicide defense lawyer experienced in Arizona law like John Lyke Law fighting on your side.

Negligent Homicide

Under A.R.S. Section 13-1102, negligent homicide is defined as any death that stems from criminal negligence. Any risky behavior that occurs when an individual does not see the danger in their actions is considered to be negligence. Anything more careless than this is considered reckless and is charged differently. Negligent homicide commonly includes DUIs that result in death, otherwise known as vehicular homicide. This type of homicide is a class 4 felony, and thus varies in its charges. Punishment can be as little as probation with no jail time, or as severe as serving 3.75 years. These particular penalties are outlined in A.R.S. Section 13-702.


Under A.R.S. Section 13-1103, manslaughter is defined as a death resulting from the reckless behavior. Anytime an individual acts in a way that knowingly endangers the life of another person it is considered reckless behavior. In some cases, manslaughter can be the charge for a second degree murder committed after provocation by the victim. These are otherwise known as “crimes of passion,” as they occur in the heat of the moment and are charged as a class 2 felony. Furthermore, vehicular homicide such as drunk driving may also be considered manslaughter. These charges can come with a 3-12.5 year prison sentence as defined in A.R.S. Section 13-702.

Second Degree Murder

Under A.R.S. Section 13-1104, second degree murder is defined as any death that was intentionally or knowingly caused. Second degree murder also includes deaths resulting from reckless behavior that demonstrates a lack of concern for human life. However, in both cases there is a commonality–no premeditation was involved. In other words, the murder was not planned out beforehand. Either way, punishment for a second degree murder charge includes up to 25 years in prison without parole, as it is a class 1 felony. These penalties are laid out under A.R.S. Section 13-710.

First Degree Murder

Under A.R.S. Section 13-1105, first degree murder is defined as any death that was intentionally or knowingly caused, involving premeditation. Premeditation can be proven by demonstrating that the defendant was planning to kill the victim beforehand. For example, if the defendant purchased a weapon specifically for that purpose, this would demonstrate premeditation. This is the most serious type of homicide and thus is considered a class 1 felony. Consequences for such a felony are very serious, and can include life in prison or the death penalty.

Capital Murder Cases

In Arizona, there have recently been changes to the homicide laws regarding the death penalty. Traditionally, an individual faced with a first degree murder would be given the death penalty. However, the updated law states that judges are unable to assign a death sentence. Rather, this power is given to the jury, allowing them to deliberate on what is the best penalty. Thus, it is crucial to have a strong homicide defense attorney to represent your case in the best light. It is possible to avoid the death penalty even if the case results in a conviction.

Contact An Experienced Homicide Defense Attorney

If you have been arrested for homicide and charged with allegedly committing negligent homicide, manslaughter, second degree murder, or first degree murder it is crucial you contact an experienced law firm like John Lyke Law. The lawyer’s at John Lyke Law are experienced in defending against such charges, and can help craft a defense strategy to ensure the best results for you and your case.