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Arizona First Degree Murder Law

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.

Code Sections

A.R.S. section 13-1105

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)

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.
Civil Case

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? You Will Want Legal Representation ASAP

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 the facts of your case, explain your best options, craft a winning legal defense, and even represent you in court. Find an Arizona defense attorney near you today.

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