Written by attorney Jeremy S Geigle

What is Arizona’s Felony Murder Rule?

Arizona has a felony murder rule, which states that a killing of a person occurring in the course of, or in the immediate flight from, the commission of the following crimes will be considered first-degree murder:

  1. Sexual assault
  2. Sexual conduct with a minor
  3. Molestation of a child
  4. Child Abuse
  5. Marijuana offenses
  6. Dangerous drug offenses
  7. Narcotics offenses
  8. The use of minors in drug offenses
  9. Drive by shooting
  10. Robbery
  11. Burglary
  12. Kidnapping
  13. Arson
  14. Unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle
  15. Terrorism

This means that if a person is involved in committing one of the above offenses and another person involved is killed, the surviving offender could be charged with first-degree murder even if they did not physically harm the deceased offender. For example, a drug deal in Phoenix, AZ turned deadly in June 2012; a man and his partner were shot at during a marijuana trade. The man’s partner was shot and killed and he now faces murder charges, even though he did not fire the weapon.

Anyone who is charged with first-degree murder in Arizona will generally face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

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