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Concurrent vs. Consecutive Sentencing in Colorado

| Jun 9, 2013 | Sentencing |

When a defendant is convicted of more than one offense, a sentencing court has discretion to impose consecutive or concurrent sentences. Consecutive sentences are back to back, meaning they don’t overlap while being served. You must finish one before beginning to serve the other. Concurrent sentencing for a felony or misdemeanor committed in Denver, Jefferson or Douglas County will permit the defendant to serve sentences at the same time – or overlapping.

Concurrent Sentencing Statute

There is a statute located at C.R.S. 18-1-408, which requires a trial court to impose concurrent sentences for offenses committed against one victim when the different charged counts are based on the same act or series of acts arising from the same criminal event and the evidence behind the different counts is identical. Where more than one victim is involved, the court may still impose consecutive sentences.

This rule of law is important for persons charged with crimes in Adams, Arapahoe and Broomfield County. It will limit the choices a court has in the sentence it crafts for a given case. The person charged, or the defendant, will not face the stacking of prison or jail sentences end to end for the same conduct. It can greatly reduce the overall time spent in jail or prison.

An Example of the Required Concurrent Sentencing

Here is an example: Imagine a person who steals a car. When they take the car, they can be charged with Motor Vehicle Theft and Trespassing, both felonies. If convicted at trial, the court can only sentence the defendant concurrently. This means both sentences will be served at the same time. Of course, one sentence may be longer than the other. But, the prison inmate will be serving both sentences together at the same time and will be Parole eligible once his parole eligibility date arrives for the longer sentence.

There are many special circumstances which can affect how you or a loved one is sentenced, so always contact an experienced criminal lawyer when contacted by police. We care about you.  So, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent and call us at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.