If you've driven on an Arizona highway in the last week, you've
seen signs like this one, warning that police will be looking for drunk
drivers this Labor Day weekend. For those who are both foolish enough
to drink and drive, and also unfortunate enough to get caught, the reality
is that they may be the lucky ones. Instead of just some classes and fines,
others could face years in prison. Those others, of course, are drivers
who are impaired and are involved in a fatal accident. They will be the
ones charged with manslaughter.
What Is Manslaughter?
In Arizona, manslaughter can be committed when:
- A death of another through recklessness. This includes an accident involving
impairment by alcohol or drugs
- Causing a death in a "sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion
But It Wasn't Intentional
Most car accidents are just that. Accidents. No one intends to hurt or
kill another person. But in the eyes of the law, someone who drinks and
drives or uses drugs and drives, is seen as reckless. That is, they have
disregarded known risks and by doing so, caused the death of another person.
Courts recognize that in cases of recklessness that a death is an unintended
consequence, the penalties for manslaughter are substantially less than
for murder - a crime that involves intentionally taking the life of another.
What are the Penalties for Manslaughter in Arizona
First, it's important to know that in Arizona, manslaughter is treated
as a dangerous offense. In other words, prosecutors will claim that the
automobile used by the impaired driver is a deadly weapon or dangerous
instrument. It's a prosecutor's way of upping the ante to try
and force plea deals, even for people who didn't go out and intend
to hurt anyone.
In Arizona, a conviction for manslaughter carries the following sentences:
- Minimum: 7 years in prison
- Presumptive: 10.5 years in prison
- Maximum: 21 years in prison
How Can a Phoenix Manslaughter Defense Attorney Help
Jason Lamm is one of Phoenix's most experienced criminal defense attorneys, particularly
in cases of
vehicular manslaughter and negligent homicide. His track record of investigating the police investigation
has often found holes and flaws that other defense attorneys didn't
even to think to look for.
When you are facing a vehicular manslaughter or negligent homicide charge
in Arizona, this attention to detail can make the difference between walking
away and spending decades in prison. Conveniently located near Central
Phoenix, Jason Lamm offers
customized consultations to those facing serious felony charges.
If you or someone you love is facing manslaughter charges, the first and only
call you need to make is to Phoenix criminal defense attorney Jason Lamm at (602) 663-9100.