Difference Between Consecutive and Concurrent in Texas
Concurrent sentences allow those convicted and sentenced of a crime to
serve multiple sentences at the same time, while consecutive means they
must serve the sentences one after another. Concurrent sentences typically
help the convicted avoid spending life in prison.
If you have been charged with multiple offenses, it is important to hire
an attorney who knows how to resolve all of those charges at one time.
During his 23 year career as a
criminal defense lawyer,
Tom D'Amore has handled thousands of criminal cases throughout the Dallas Ft. Worth
Example of a Life Sentence Case
Yesterday, a Denton County jury sentenced drunk driver
John Patrick Barton to two (2) life sentences for killing Kandace Hull and her thirteen year-old
daughter Autumn Caudle. Barton plowed into the victims' car at 134
miles per hour last Easter morning. At the time of the collision, Barton's
blood alcohol level was three (3) times the .08 legal limit in Texas. In addition, Barton received
20 years on each of three counts of intoxicated assault with a vehicle.
Nevertheless, Barton is eligible for parole in 30 years.
How can a person sentenced to two (2) life terms and three (3) 20-year
terms be eligible for probation in only 30 years? Mr. Barton was sentenced
to serve his sentences concurrently, which means he serve his sentence
for each of the five (5) convictions at the same time. For each year Mr.
Barton spends in prison, he receives one year credit toward each of the
five (5) sentences. Had Barton been sentenced to serve his sentences consecutively,
he would have had to serve time for each of the convictions one at a time.
This would mean Barton would have to serve 20 years to complete each 20-year
sentence (60 years total), and then would have to serve the two (2) life terms.
Judges impose consecutive sentences for multiple crimes associated with
a single criminal event only in rare circumstances. In Mr. Barton's
case, all five of his convictions were the result of a single
drunk driving incident. Therefore, the judge sentenced Barton to serve his sentences
concurrently. Had Mr. Barton's convictions been the result of multiple
criminal episodes he may have been sentenced to serve his sentences consecutively.
An "Aggravated Offense" is one that involves use of a weapon
in the commission of a crime. In Barton's case the weapon at issue
was Barton's car. A person convicted of an "Aggravated Offense,"
must serve half the sentence or 30 years (whichever is less) before they
become eligible for parole. This explains why Barton is eligible for parole
in 30 years.
D'Amore Law Firm today to schedule a
free case evaluation with Dallas criminal attorney Tom D'Amore.