October 12, 2023 By Wallin & Klarich

Everything You Need To Know About Concurrent vs. Consecutive Sentences

Concurrent sentences are usually handed down when multiple criminal offenses are committed at once or when someone is charged for multiple counts of the same crime. In these cases, the sentences are “concurrent,” meaning they overlap and are served simultaneously. This means that instead of serving multiple jail terms one after the other, the individual may only have to serve a single period of incarceration for all offenses. 

In contrast, consecutive sentences are handed down when multiple charges are unrelated or an individual commits separate crimes at different times. In these cases, the sentences run consecutively—one after the other—resulting in longer periods of jail time overall. 

Choosing Wallin & Klarich to represent your case puts you in a better position to receive the best outcome for your case. We have over 40 years of experience in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL  for your free appeal consultation!

How Do Judges Decide?

According to Rule 4.425(a) of the California Rules of Court, the court will evaluate various factors to decide whether to impose a consecutive or concurrent sentence on an individual. These factors include:

  • The nature of the crimes: Whether the crimes and their objectives were mostly independent of each other, whether they involved separate acts of violence or threats, or whether they were committed at different times and places, indicating a distinct period of aberrant behavior.
  • The defendant’s background: Whether the defendant has engaged in violent conduct that poses a significant danger to society, the number and seriousness of prior convictions or sustained petitions in juvenile delinquency proceedings, whether the defendant has served a prior prison term, and whether the defendant was on probation or parole when the current crime was committed, as well as their performance during that probation or parole.

Additionally, Rule 4.425(b) allows the court to consider any aggravating or mitigating circumstances while determining whether to impose a consecutive or concurrent sentence. It is important to note that the court must also take into account California Penal Code Section 654, which stipulates that if one act violates multiple laws, an individual can be convicted of multiple crimes but can only be subjected to one sentence for that act (JCR 4.424).

Which Crimes Generally Warrant Each?

Generally, minor offenses or multiple counts of the same crime may warrant concurrent sentences, allowing the offender to serve all sentences at the same time. However, for more severe or unrelated crimes – especially those committed at different times – consecutive sentences may be more likely. 

No matter if you serve a concurrent or consecutive sentence, a conviction can affect your personal and professional life. Employers will be less likely to hire you, resulting in the potential to struggle finding a steady job. Additionally, your relationships with friends and family can suffer as well. If you have been accused of a crime, it may seem like your life is over – but it doesn’t have to be. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience representing cases like yours. Call us today for a free consultation!

Good Time Credit

According to California Penal Code Section 2933, individuals may be eligible to receive “good time credit” or “work time credit” based on the nature of their conviction. Good time credit can be applied towards reducing the overall sentence, allowing for early release if the inmate has demonstrated good behavior during their incarceration.

Under California Penal Code Section 2933(b), individuals can earn credit reductions from their sentence term for every six months of continuous incarceration in which they have exhibited good behavior or complied with specific rehabilitative requirements. In certain cases, this credit can result in serving only half of the imposed sentence. However, the exact percentage of the sentence that needs to be served depends on the specific crime for which one was convicted.

It’s important to note that for violent felonies like rape, first-degree burglary, and child molestation, the application of good time credit differs. California Penal Code Section 2933.1 specifies that individuals convicted of violent felonies can receive up to 15 percent good time credit, requiring them to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

However, there are exceptions. For example, if an individual has been convicted of murder under California Penal Code Section 187 or has prior convictions of two or more felonies, they will not be eligible to earn work credit and may be required to serve the entirety of their sentence (PC 2933.2).

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you have been accused of any type of murder, you need an aggressive defense attorney to fight for your freedom. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients win their cases or get their charges reduced to a lesser degree. We know the most effective defenses to argue on your behalf, and we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. 

You may not be aware of all your options. Calling our office costs you nothing, but picking up the phone could be the difference between years in prison and years of freedom. Let our skilled attorneys examine your case to find the best way to avoid prison.

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

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