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:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual conduct with a minor
- Molestation of a child
- Child Abuse
- Marijuana offenses
- Dangerous drug offenses
- Narcotics offenses
- The use of minors in drug offenses
- Drive by shooting
- Unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle
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.