Consecutive vs. Concurrent Sentencing

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A quick look at consecutive versus concurrent sentencing

Whenever somebody is convicted of multiple offenses – whether they arise out of the same incident or different cases – the determination needs to be made on whether the sentences will run concurrently or consecutive to one another.  If they run concurrent, the sentences will overlap and be served at the same time.

Consecutive sentences, on the other hand, require one to finish before the other begins.

Generally, it’s up to the court to determine whether or not the sentences will be concurrent or consecutive.  It’s not uncommon for the parties to agree on this term as part of negotiations.  However, the sentences must be consecutive if a person is arrested for a crime and then commits another crime (1) before the date the person is discharged from probation, parole, or a term of imprisonment imposed for the first crime; or (2) while the person is released on bond or on their own recognizance for the first crime.  Another circumstance in which sentences must be served consecutively is when, according to IC 35-50-2-11, it is determined that a person used a firearm in the commission of the offense for which the person was convicted which is an enhancement that carries a penalty between 5 to 20 years. This enhancement must be served consecutively to the sentence received for the underlying conviction.

For all other circumstances, the court may consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances in determining whether convictions for multiple offenses will run consecutively or concurrently to one another.  There are limits to sentences that are ordered to run consecutive which arise out of an episode of criminal conduct as long as the offenses are not considered to be crimes of violence.

The following offenses are considered to be “crimes of violence”:

  1. Murder
  2. Attempted murder
  3. Voluntary manslaughter
  4. Involuntary manslaughter
  5. Reckless homicide
  6. Aggravated battery
  7. Kidnapping
  8. Rape
  9. Criminal deviate conduct
  10. Child molesting
  11. Sexual misconduct with a minor as a Level 1 or 2 felony
  12. Robbery as a Level 2 or 3 felony
  13. Burglary as a Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 felony
  14. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing death
  15. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated causing serious bodily injury to another person
  16. Child exploitation as a level 4 or 5 felony
  17. Resisting law enforcement as a felony
  18. Unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon

In order to be considered as an “episode of criminal conduct” the offenses or a connected series of offenses that must be closely related in time, place, and circumstance.
Therefore, for convictions that are not for crimes of violence which are considered to be part of a single episode of criminal conduct, the sum of the total terms of imprisonment between the convictions may not exceed the following:

  • If the most serious crime is a Level 6 felony = 4 years
  • If the most serious crime is a Level 5 felony = 7 years
  • If the most serious crime is a Level 4 felony = 15 years
  • If the most serious crime is a Level 3 felony = 20 years
  • If the most serious crime is a Level 2 felony = 32 years
  • If the most serious crime is a Level 1 felony = 42 years

Accordingly, if one of the convictions was for a crime of violence or if the convictions are not considered to be part of an episode of criminal conduct, these limits do not apply.

As you can see, depending on the circumstances, the possible penalties when dealing with multiple offenses can vary widely.  Therefore, if you or anyone you know is facing multiple counts – whether they all charged as one case or spread among several cases – contact the experienced criminal law attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC.  We are available 24/7 at or (317) 870-0019 to discuss your situation and explain how much time you could be facing.