06 Jan Conspiracy to Commit Murder Is a Punishable Offense in Arizona
Thanks to the signed extradition of Lori Vallow, the news is rife with talk about conspiracy to commit murder charges. But what exactly does this law mean, and what counts as conspiracy? Can you get in trouble for simply talking about murder? This quick overview will give you the knowledge to understand Arizona’s laws about conspiracy to commit murder and the consequences for breaking them.
Definition of Murder Conspiracy Charges in Arizona
To be charged with conspiracy to commit murder two things must be true:
- Two or more people must agree to intentionally murder another person.
- One of the people involved in the conspiracy must complete or further the act.
It is important to remember that the agreement does not need to be absolute. In fact, no other details need to be discussed, and the agreement does not even need to be clearly articulated. In fact, the prosecution only needs to prove that the defendant understood the purpose of the conversation and agreed with it.
Furthering the act means taking steps in the direction of the murder. Examples of furthering the act include:
- Arranging for the victim to be in a certain place
- Luring others away from a certain place
- Acquiring a weapon
- Renting, borrowing or buying a getaway car
- Prearaging disposal of items or cleaning of a crime scene
Punishments for Conspiracy to Commit Murder
The penalties for conspiracy to commit murder range vastly. Depending on the circumstances and the number of other charges, penalties range from three months in jail to a lifetime in prison. This is where the law may become complicated, as the consequences change according to the charges against the defendant.
- If first-degree murder is the charge, anyone who conspired with the defendant could be facing life in prison, with the opportunity for parole after 25 years.
- Attempted murder is a class 1 felony. While the defendant could face life imprisonment, this is rare as long as the victim is alive or unharmed. Anyone who conspired with the defendant can be charged with a class 6 felony.
Conspiracy vs. Attempted Murder Charges
The distinctions between the charges for murder or attempted murder, and the lesser charges for conspiracy are what confuse many people in these cases. This is why it is so important to ask for a lawyer to be present if you are ever arrested or being held for questioning. A good defense lawyer can help you understand the ramifications of your actions and keep you from making statements that would incriminate you.
Looking for a Certified Criminal Defense Lawyer in Phoenix?
Todd Coolidge has over 25 years of experience as a certified criminal defense attorney in Arizona. Along with understanding all the ins and outs of the justice system, Todd Coolidge believes that every case deserves dedicated time and attention. Unlike other attorneys who foist cases off to lawyers with less experience, at the Coolidge firm each case is handled with the care and respect it deserves. If you need a lawyer to fight on your side, contact us today to schedule a consultation.