What are the Differences between DUI Manslaughter and DUI Negligent Homicide in Arizona?

Driving under the influence (DUI) accidents in Arizona that result in a person’s death can be accompanied by manslaughter or negligent homicide. Arizona Revised Statute (A.R.S.) 13-1102 defines “negligent homicide” as causing a person’s death (including an unborn child) through criminal negligence. Negligent homicide is a Class 4 felony. The definition of “criminal negligence” in A.R.S. 13-105(10)(d) is "a person that fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation."

By comparison, A.R.S. 13-1103 defines manslaughter as recklessly causing the death of another person, and, as a Class 2 felony, is a more serious offense than negligent homicide. Statute A.R.S. 13-105(10)(c) defines "recklessly" as "with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense, that a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard of such risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. A person who creates such as risk but who is unaware of such risk solely by reason of voluntary intoxication also acts recklessly with respect to such risk.”

The main difference between “reckless” and “criminally negligent” is the factor of “conscious disregard.” Penalties differ substantially because the manslaughter maximum imprisonment penalty is 21 years, and negligent homicide’s maximum penalty is eight years.

Hiring a highly skilled Tucson manslaughter defense attorney often means the difference between a negligent homicide or manslaughter conviction and dropped or reduced charges.

At Nesci & St. Louis, PLLC we diligently pursue favorable results for all of our clients. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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