There is a big difference between the words concurrent and consecutive when it comes to criminal law. It’s important to know the definitions for each because they could seriously change your sentence in a criminal trial. Concurrent sentencing allows you to serve more than one sentence at the same time. If you were charged with an assault with a deadly weapon charge and a breaking and entering charge, a concurrent sentence permits you to serve both of these at the same time, meaning that you could significantly reduce your jail time. When a judge orders consecutive sentencing, the lesser charges are lapsed into the larger ones. If you were granted a four year sentence and a six year sentence for two crimes affiliated with the same incident, declaring them concurrent would essentially eliminate the 4 year sentence. Instead of serving a total of 10 years in prison, you would only serve 6 years.
Most often a judge will declare concurrent sentencing because of compassion, leniency, or the fact that multiple sentences are all related. There are also times that lawyers can organize a plea bargain that comes with a concurrent sentencing. According to the 18 USC § 3553(a) and (b) and 3584, district courts have the right to use discretion when imposing concurrent or consecutive sentences. They must make sure that they are abiding by the sentencing guidelines when making this decision. These guidelines provide that is the statutory maximum sentence is less than the minimum in the applicable guideline range, and then the statutory maximum can be the guideline sentence.
Often when sentences are served concurrent, the criminal will receive the highest maximum sentence for his most serious crime. This is often still less than he would have to deal with if he were issued all of his sentences in a row without a concurrent ruling. Those don’t receive a concurrent sentence may be forced to deal with a consecutive sentence. This means that the suspect will need to serve every single sentence one after the other. If a person has committed four counts of sexual assault, then he or she could be in prison for at least 40 years when all counts are added up, rather than being in prison for 10 years on one count.
Lawyers often try to avoid letting their clients be sent to jail with consecutive charges. Sometimes even seemingly small charges can add up in a consecutive charges sentence. If you were charged with a DUI, DUI manslaughter, resisting arrest, and refusing a blood and breath test, then your sentence could send you to prison for years, rather than a matter of months. Some crimes, such as murder, are usually always consecutive. Recently, a criminal who murdered three people from his family was sentenced to three life sentences in prison. While the logic may not seem to make sense, the triple diagnosis will help to assure that the man is never let out of prison.
On the other hand, a lot of crimes are eligible for concurrent sentencing if a judge chooses to impose this sentence. The judge will evaluate the criminal’s character, the weight of the crimes, the history of the crime, the gravity of the circumstances, and the rehabilitative needs of the defendant when trying to choose what sort of sentencing to impose. If a judge does not specify that sentences should run concurrently, then they will automatically run consecutively. If you are fighting for concurrent sentencing in a criminal trial, obtain a convincing criminal lawyer to help you. You may be able to organize a plea bargain which can help you to shorten your prison sentence!