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What is the difference between murder and manslaughter?

If you are allegedly involved in the death of another person in Arizona, you could face serious criminal charges, such as second degree murder or manslaughter. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to understand what constitutes each of these offenses. At The Baker Law Firm, LLC, we know that the offense you are charged with in such cases may mean the difference between serving a lengthy prison sentence and spending your life behind bars. In this post then, we will discuss the difference between second degree murder and manslaughter in the state of Arizona.

Here in Arizona, there is a range of situations, which may result in the death of others that may be considered second degree murder. These include the following:

  •          Intentionally causing the death of another person or unborn child
  •          Knowingly engaging in conduct that will cause serious physical injury or death
  •          Recklessly participating in conduct that creates a significant risk of death

While you may have allegedly known that your actions could result in death, second degree murder charges are reserved for situations in which the death of a person was not premeditated.

Situations that may not qualify as second degree murder may be charged instead as manslaughter. Under Arizona state law, it may be considered manslaughter if you recklessly cause the death of another. Additionally, acts that may technically fit the definition of second degree murder, but which are committed in the heat of passion or as a result of provocation, may be considered manslaughter. Purposely helping someone commit suicide also constitutes manslaughter in the state of Arizona.

Both second degree murder and manslaughter offenses involve killings that are not premeditated, or planned in advance. It is the details of the aggression, which differentiate one from the other. With second degree murder charges, it is alleged that you had full understanding of your actions, but killed someone anyway. Manslaughter cases, on the other hand, involve circumstances that may have caused you, and other reasonable people, to act by impulse or passion, or to become emotionally disturbed.

For more information about situations that may be considered violent crimes, please visit our homicide page.

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