Prison Term Set for AZ Man in Fatal DUI Case
An Arizona man convicted of manslaughter in connection with a 2014 fatal DUI crash was sentenced to seven years in prison, according to recent reports. Joseph Richard Baird, 54, was accused of causing an accident by turning left in front of an oncoming motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol, leading to the death of Edward A. Miller, 75. Prosecutors stated that Baird’s blood alcohol content was measured at more than twice the legal limit two hours after the accident.
Manslaughter vs. Murder
When you are charged with taking someone else’s life, it is very important that you have adequate legal representation. There are no charges more serious than those that deal with the loss of human life, and the punishments for conviction of these crimes can be extreme. There are different types of criminal charges dealing with the loss of human life, so a defense attorney may be able to negotiate a reduction of your charges from murder to manslaughter, for example. In Arizona, there is no such charge as “involuntary manslaughter.” You will be charged with either manslaughter or negligent homicide. Manslaughter can include any of the following scenarios:
- Assisted suicide. If you help someone commit suicide, you can be charged with manslaughter, even if you are a health care professional.
- Intentionally killing someone after provocation. If you kill someone in the heat of the moment during a quarrel, you may be charged with manslaughter. However, you could also be charged with murder, depending on the circumstances.
- Being forced to kill another person. If someone threatens you and forces you to commit homicide, you may be charged with manslaughter.
- Recklessly causing death. If your reckless conduct causes the death of another person, you could be charged with manslaughter. This is often the case in incidents involving DUI.
- Causing the death of an unborn child. While sanctioned abortion is legal, killing a fetus, even unintentionally, by harming the mother is considered manslaughter.
Negligent homicide is similar to manslaughter, but is usually reserved for cases in which someone kills another person in an accident that does not involve alcohol but does involve negligent behavior. Manslaughter is a Class 2 felony and carries a sentence between three and 12.5 years. Negligent homicide is a Class 4 felony and carries a sentence between one and eight years. If you have been charged with manslaughter or negligent homicide, call the Oswalt Law Group in Phoenix. Our defense attorneys are ready to help you protect your rights and fight the charges against you.