A.R.S. § 13-105(22) broadly defines a “historical prior felony conviction” as any prior felony conviction that involved one of the following:
Clearly, virtually all prior felony convictions are “historical prior felony convictions” in Arizona.
The American Friends Service Committee identified another problem with priors in their report entitled A New Public Safety Framework for Arizona: Charting a Path Forward published in December 2016:
“However, Arizona currently uses a category of “priors” that is virtually unheard of in American jurisprudence. The current statute allows the sentencing court to count up the number of distinct “occasions” on which the defendant committed felony offenses that led to convictions rather than to confirm that the defendant had at least been convicted for an earlier offense before committing the offense for which a sentence was now being pronounced.
As a result, offenses committed on the same day (for which the person has not yet been convicted) can be treated as “priors” at sentencing, allowing to call for harsher penalties. For example, a person can break into a car, walk down the street and break into another car. Rather than simply being charged with two counts of burglary or theft, the prosecutor can label the first break-in a “prior,” triggering a sentence enhancement.”
Almost anyone can have a problem with priors under Arizona law. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to handle problems with priors.