Does Arizona Follow the Felony Murder Rule?

One of the more controversial issues in criminal law has to do with something called the felony-murder rule. Under this rule, if someone dies while you’re in the middle of committing a felony, you can be charged with murder. It doesn’t matter whether you intended for anyone to die or not. It doesn’t even matter if you were armed at the time. If the State can prove that someone died because of the felony, you can be charged with felony-murder. It’ll take a good criminal defense lawyer in Arizona to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Some states have moved away from this rule. Others, like Arizona, still support the law and consider it law. The rationale behind the law is quite simple. Imagine that you and a buddy decide to rob a liquor store. You don’t have a gun but lie and tell the clerk that you do. After you demand that the clerk open the safe, he turns around and shoots at you. Out of sheer luck, the bullet misses you, but it hits an older woman standing behind you. She’s taken away in an ambulance but dies before she gets to the hospital.

In a situation like this, both you and your buddy can be charged with felony murder. This law can be confusing for a lot of people. That’s why it’s a good idea to call and talk to a criminal defense lawyer in Arizona. They can answer any questions you may have. They can also give you an idea of what the future holds for you.

What Crimes are Subject to the Felony-Murder Rule in Arizona?

There are only certain crimes that are subject to the felony-murder rule. Generally speaking, it doesn’t apply to misdemeanor crimes. If you were shoplifting and someone got hurt or died, you can’t be charged with felony-murder. You may be charged with another homicide offense, but not felony-murder. The crimes that are connected to a felony-murder charge include:

  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Child molestation
  • Fleeing from law enforcement

All the State must do is prove that you were in the middle of committing a felony at the time the victim died. You can be charged and convicted even if you had very little to do with the crime. For example, even if you’re just the getaway driver or the “lookout”, you can be charged with murder. Even if the person dies while you’re in flight after the felony is over you can be charged.

In these cases, you’re going to be charged with first-degree murder. Not manslaughter. Not second-degree murder. But first-degree murder. With so much at stake, you don’t want to handle this on your own. You need to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Arizona by your side.

Call and Talk to a Seasoned Criminal Defense Lawyer in Arizona

If you or your loved one are charged with felony-murder, you need help. You are likely in way over your head. A lot of attorneys don’t fully under the felony-murder rule. Odds are, you don’t either. The good news is that our criminal defense lawyers in Arizona do. They keep abreast of the law and always check for updates. They understand that, at least for now, the felony-murder rule is alive and well in Arizona.

Call our office and speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Arizona. Sit down and explain your situation to them. They can let you know the stark truth about what you’re in for. They can also reach out to the prosecutor and see if they’re willing to cut a deal. Call right away and set up a date and time that works for you.