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Understanding sentencing in a criminal case

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2022 | Criminal Defense

A person who is facing criminal charges will often want to know what type of sentence they could be facing. Sentencing guidelines outline what’s considered acceptable for specific charges.

Anyone who is facing criminal charges needs to ensure that they understand a few basic points about criminal sentencing. These are used for guilty verdicts as well as cases that involve guilty pleas by defendants.

Consecutive versus concurrent sentences

Sometimes, a person is sentenced for more than one criminal charge. The judge will issue a sentence for each charge. In some cases, a person is sentenced for additional charges while they’re already serving a sentence for another charge.

When there is more than one sentence being handed down, the judge will specify whether the sentences are to be served consecutively or concurrently. Consecutively means that one sentence has to finish before the next one begins. Concurrently means that the sentences can run at the same time, which can mean considerably less time behind bars.

Methods of calculation

Some sentences are determinate, which means they’re for a specific amount of time. Others are indeterminate. This means that the sentence is either for a minimum amount of time or up to a maximum amount of time.

Once you learn that you’re facing criminal charges, you must ensure that you’re taking steps to work on your defense strategy. Some defendants focus on trying to be found not guilty. Others focus more on trying to minimize the penalties they’ll face if they’re found guilty. Having experienced legal guidance can help you to determine what’s in your best interests.