Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Arizona Statutes » Historical Priors

Historical Priors

This seems like a simple concept, but there are a couple of nuances that regularly cause problems for attorneys. Having one or more historical priors has an incredible impact on sentencing, so I’m always surprised when lawyers don’t know how it works.

Obviously, for a conviction to be an historical prior conviction, it must precede the conviction for the present offense. But what happens if the offense conduct of the so-called “prior” occurred after the conduct underlying the present offense?

Interestingly, the type of offense involved in the “prior” is the determining factor. For the convictions listed in A.R.S. § 13-604(W)(2)(a) and (d), the only requirement with regard to ordering is that the conviction for the offense being used as an historical prior felony conviction precede the conviction from the present offense. For the convictions listed in A.R.S. § 13-604(W)(2)(b) and (c), the offense for the conviction being used as an historical prior felony conviction must precede the present offense, and the conviction from the offense being used as an historical prior felony conviction must precede the conviction from the present offense.

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2 Responses to "Historical Priors"

  1. Chris says:

    scenerio: Defendant enters a plea of Guilty to the following:
    OFFENSE: Count 2: (AMENDED) TAKING IDENTITY OF ANOTHER WITH ONE
    PRIOR FELONY CONVICTION
    Class 4 felony
    A.R.S. § 13-2008, 13-701, 13-702, 13-604 and 13-801
    Date of Offense: May 2009
    Non Dangerous – Repetitive
    Defendant acknowledges the existence of the following prior felony conviction(s):
    POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS, a class 4 Non Dangerous felony committed
    on December 2006 and convicted on June 2007 Maricopa
    County Superior Court.

    under AZ sentencing guidlines would this fall under catagory 1 of the non dangerous-repetative offenses (13-703(H)) or catagory 2 (13-703(I))?

  2. [...] 2) Don’t assume a federal or out-of-state felony conviction is an historical prior! [...]

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