Murder is considered the most serious offense in criminal law; however, a person could still face similar penalties without actually killing another person. In Arizona, conspiracy to commit murder is taken very seriously and can have strict penalties, including a possible life sentence.
Conspiracy to commit murder is the act of planning a murder, whether the crime actually takes place or not. According to A.R.S. 13-1003 (A), a person may be charged with conspiracy in Arizona if he or she prepares or organizes for a criminal offense, or commissions or promotes a criminal act in collaboration with one or multiple people and agrees that one or more persons will carry out the offense.
A person charged with conspiracy to commit murder may face severe consequences if convicted. Having a strong defense is critical to ensure that all possible defense avenues are explored. Working with an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney is essential for developing a successful defense strategy.
Defining Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Arizona
Before a person can be convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona, they must meet certain conditions. To be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, a person must agree with one or more individuals to unlawfully and intentionally murder another person or persons. In addition, at least one of the people involved must commit some act to further the agreement.
Agreements in relation to conspiracy to commit murder do not have to be complete in detail or clearly articulated. The prosecution must show that you knew that the purpose of the agreement was intentional murder and you agreed to take part in the crime.
Even if you did not commit the actual murder yourself, you could still be charged with conspiracy if you performed an act to advance the murder, such as renting a “get-away” car, buying the murder weapon, or arranging for the victim to be in a certain location at a specific time. The crime of conspiracy to commit murder does not require you to be physically present at the crime scene.
Penalties for Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Arizona
If you are convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona, you may face harsh penalties that generally include jail time. A person convicted of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder may be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole only after serving a minimum of 25 years of the sentence.
Under Arizona law, there are also specialty sentencing provisions that are applied to a conspiracy to commit murder case if the crime took place in a group. According to A.R.S. 13-1004, the sentencing for facilitation includes the following:
- If the offense is facilitated as a class 1 felony, it is a class 5 felony.
- If the offense is facilitated as a class 2 or class 3 felony, it is a class 6 felony.
- If the offense is facilitated as a class 4 or class 5 felony, it is a class 1 misdemeanor.
- If the offense is facilitated as a class 6 felony or a misdemeanor, it is a class 3 misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor charges can range based on the class of offense and whether it was a first-time offense. A class 3 misdemeanor may come with a maximum jail time of one month, while a class 1 misdemeanor carries a maximum jail time of six months.
If you are charged with a felony, you could face a more significant jail sentence. A class 6 felony charge has a minimum jail time of six months and a maximum jail time of 1.5 years. A class 5 felony carries a minimum jail sentence of nine months and a maximum sentence of two years.
Building a Defense Against a Conspiracy to Commit Murder Charge
Under A.R.S. 13-1005, any individual involved in a conspiracy has the right to renounce their participation if they do so prior to an arrest or before the crime is committed. This renunciation of the conspiracy must be performed both completely and voluntarily, meaning the individual must make a reasonable effort to prevent the commission of the crime.
Other defense strategies can also be used depending on the circumstances of the crime, such as having no knowledge of the agreement to commit murder or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Another common strategy used in conspiracy cases involves evidence that was legally obtained by the police without a search warrant.
How JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law Can Help You
Conspiracy to commit murder is a serious charge in Arizona and can carry a hefty prison sentence if convicted. Working with a reputable criminal defense attorney can help ensure that the best possible strategy is used to protect your interests and increase your odds of a favorable outcome in your case.
For a free criminal case review, contact JacksonWhite Law at (480) 467-4370 and speak with one of our dedicated criminal defense attorneys.