In Arizona you can be charged with first degree murder even if you were not the one who killed the person. It is called Felony Murder Rule. If you are engaged in a felony and someone dies during the felony everyone is charged with the murder. Here is an example:

If you and your friend are purchasing drugs from a drug dealer and your friend pulls out a gun and the drug dealer shoots him, you are charged with Felony Murder. You are charged even if you did not know your friend had a gun and had no idea that he was going to pull it. This is because you were engaged in the felony of purchasing drugs and someone died.

The penalty if convicted is life in prison.

The statute is ARS 13-1305(A)(2)

Acting either alone or with one or more other persons the person commits or attempts to commit sexual conduct with a minor under section 13-1405, sexual assault under section 13-1406, molestation of a child under section 13-1410, terrorism under section 13-2308.01, marijuana offenses under section 13-3405, subsection A, paragraph 4, dangerous drug offenses under section 13-3407, subsection A, paragraphs 4 and 7, narcotics offenses under section 13-3408, subsection A, paragraph 7 that equal or exceed the statutory threshold amount for each offense or combination of offenses, involving or using minors in drug offenses under section 13-3409, drive by shooting under section 13-1209, kidnapping under section 13-1304, burglary under section 13-1506, 13-1507 or 13-1508, arson under section 13-1703 or 13-1704, robbery under section 13-1902, 13-1903 or 13-1904, escape under section 13-2503 or 13-2504, child abuse under section 13-3623, subsection A, paragraph 1 or unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle under section 28-622.01 and, in the course of and in furtherance of the offense or immediate flight from the offense, the person or another person causes the death of any person.

This is a very complicated area of law. If you or someone you love has been charged with First Degree Murder based upon ARS 13-1305(A)(2) you need an experienced attorney. Dwane Cates is certified as a Specialist in Criminal law by the State Bar of Arizona. He has been practicing law in Arizona for over 21 years. You can count on his experience to guide you through these difficult times.


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