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Arizona Manslaughter Laws

The State of Arizona doesn't classify the crime of manslaughter as voluntary or involuntary. It's either "manslaughter" or "negligent homicide."

Manslaughter in Arizona

Arizona law defines manslaughter quite broadly, with many possible scenarios potentially giving rise to this charge. These include:

1) Intentionally assisting another in committing suicide. In most states, including Arizona, assisted suicide is illegal, even if performed by medically trained and licensed professionals. In Arizona, assisting in a suicide, regardless of medical training, is considered manslaughter.

2) Intentionally or knowingly killing a person after adequate provocation and in the heat of passion or during a sudden quarrel. This means that the crime was not premeditated, but is instead the result of “sudden quarrel or heat of passion.”

3) Intentionally killing another person while being forced to do so due to the threat or use of immediate unlawful deadly force, which "a reasonable person in his situation would have been unable to resist,"; or

4) Recklessly causing the death of another person.

5) Causing the death of an unborn child by injuring the mother. There are several important exceptions to this, and protects those who performed authorized abortions, those who provided medical services on the mother or child and the mother of the unborn child.

Negligent Homicide in Arizona

Negligent homicide is very similar to manslaughter; however, manslaughter is a "recklessness" standard which requires a gross deviation from a standard of conduct verses a "negligence" standard involving a gross deviation from a standard of care.

This charge is typically brought under two scenarios. One involves a vehicular homicide where the driver kills another person. The second is brought on parents whose kids die in an accident, and the prosecution alleges it is the parents' fault for not being better, more attentive, and protective parents. It

The following table highlights the main provisions of Arizona's manslaughter and negligent homicide laws. See also Voluntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentences, Involuntary Manslaughter Penalties and Sentences.

Code Sections

Manslaughter: A.R.S 13-1103

Negligent Homicide: A.R.S. §13-1102

What is Prohibited

See Above Definitions


Manslaughter (Class 2 felony): There are many factors that affect the sentencing of a manslaughter conviction, including prior felonies, and whether or not the manslaughter charge is considered a dangerous offense, which occurs if a deadly weapon was used during the incident.

Possible Sentencing Range

Mitigated sentence: 3 years
Minimum sentence: 4 years
Presumptive sentence: 5 years
Maximum sentence: 10 years
Aggravated sentence: 12.5 years

Negligent Homicide (Class 4 felony): Minimum One (1)-Eight (8) years in prison, fines, restitution, and driver's license suspension.

Civil Case

Possible Wrongful Death lawsuit

Facing Manslaughter Charges? You'll Want an Attorney's Help

The taking of another person's life, whether murder or manslaughter, is the most serious crime you can be accused of under Arizona law. You should have a strong defense attorney on your side. If you do find yourself facing a manslaughter or negligent homicide charge in Arizona, or any other criminal offense, your best bet is to contact an experienced Arizona defense attorney.

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