Capital Offense Lawyer in Yuma
What is a Capital Offense?
A capital offense is a serious crime for which the death penalty is a possible verdict. Representation by a qualified criminal defense attorney is essential in a case involving these accusations. The qualified and highly experienced criminal team at Bowman, Smith & Kallen handle capital cases and are prepared to aggressively protect and maximize your legal interests. Call today and schedule your free consultation.
Discuss your case in a FREE consultation with Bowman, Smith & Kallen.
Capital Offenses Punishable by Death
The death penalty is reserved for only the most severe criminal charges.
In Arizona, the death penalty may only be imposed for the following capital offenses:
- First-degree murder
- Premeditated murder
- Felony murder
If the prosecution wants to ask for the death penalty in a case, they must file a notice of intent within 30 days of the defendant's arraignment (when official charges are brought).
Phases of Capital Offense Cases
In cases of capital offenses, there are two major phases of the case:
- The trial phase: The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of a capital offense.
- The sentencing phase: If a person is convicted of the capital offense(s) in question, the aggravating and mitigating facts of the case will be weighed to determine if the death penalty should be issued.
Presenting Your Case to a Jury
Prior to 2002, a trial judge was responsible for weighing the aggravating and mitigating factors of a capital case to impose the death penalty or life imprisonment. However, in 2002, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the landmark case of Ring v Arizona that Arizona's law was unconstitutional because it violated a criminal defendant's right to a trial by jury.
Today, a jury must decide whether to impose the death penalty, rather than a judge. In the sentencing phase of a capital case, the prosecution will set forth evidence of the aggravating factors and the criminal defense will provide evidence of any possible mitigating factors that would give reason to grant leniency.
If the jury finds sufficient evidence of at least one of 10 aggravating circumstances without the presence of mitigating factors, the death penalty may be imposed. It may also be imposed when the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances.
Defense for Your Capital Offense Charges
Competence and commitment in criminal defense are paramount to reducing the severity of the consequences in a capital case. To learn more about capital offenses, please contact us to speak with an attorney at Bowman, Smith & Kallen today.
Dial (928) 433-2355 now to schedule your free consultation with our team.
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