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What are concurrent and consecutive sentences?

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When an offender is sentenced for more than one offense at the same time, the judge will decide if the sentences imposed for each offense will run concurrently or consecutively. Likewise, when an offender is sentenced for an offense while still serving a sentence for a prior offense, the judge will decide if the new sentence or sentences will run concurrently or consecutively with the prior sentence. When sentences are ordered to run concurrently, the applicable prison term is the one with the longest maximum sentence. When sentences are ordered to run consecutively, the sentences are combined to make a new prison term. Thus, the offender will not actually complete one sentence and then begin serving a second sentence. Instead, the prison terms are aggregated, which lengthens the total amount of time the defendant can stay in prison. The Board of Pardons and Parole still retains discretion to determine the exact amount of time the defendant spends in prison. In making this decision, ...
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