Vehicular Manslaughter/Vehicular Homicide in Arizona

Vehicular homicide.

Vehicular Manslaughter/Vehicular Homicide in Arizona

The state of Arizona classifies homicide, the act of causing the death of another person, into four separate charges: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide. In brief:

First-Degree Murder: involves taking the life of another person intentionally and with pre-meditation. A class 1 felony, convictions are so serious that the offender may be sentenced to death.

Second-Degree Murder: involves taking the life of another person intentionally but without pre-meditation, or due to extreme recklessness or indifference. As a class 2 felony, a first-time offender may face up to 25 years in prison.

Manslaughter: involves fatal scenarios that lack premeditation, often through reckless conduct or moments of passion. A class 2 felony, those convicted for the first time may spend up to 21 years incarcerated.

Negligent Homicide: involves fatal scenarios that result from criminal negligence. While the least serious homicide charge, a conviction is still a class 4 felony and can result in up to 3.75 years of incarceration for a first-time offender.

Arizona does not make a distinction for “vehicular manslaughter” or “vehicular homicide,” which occurs when another person’s death is caused by the use of a vehicle, such as driving into a pedestrian or death resulting from a car accident. Instead, a person who causes a fatal car crash will be charged with one of Arizona’s four homicide classifications listed above depending on the nature of the incident.

Most vehicular homicide cases result in negligent homicide or manslaughter charges, as these charges do not involve pre-meditation. This can include scenarios where the defendant was criminally speeding or ran a red light.

However, if the prosecution is able to prove that the defendant displayed an extreme indifference to human life, charges may be elevated to second-degree murder. This may occur in scenarios such as driving aggressively and/or criminally speeding while drunk or impaired. A first-degree murder charge would involve one where the defendant intended to cause the death of another person with their vehicle.

MVD Penalties for Vehicular Homicide

In addition to criminal charges, a person convicted of vehicular homicide will face repercussions through the Motor Vehicle Division. Pursuant to A.R.S. 28-3315 and A.R.S. 28-3304, anyone convicted of a vehicle-related homicide will have their driver’s license suspended for three years.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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