• Attorney Joseph Soler

When referring to a criminal sentence, what does consecutive, concurrent, and coterminous mean?


Example of a Concurrent Sentence


Concurrent means the sentences are running together at the same time. Let's say that a defendant is charged with two different crimes, for instance driving on a suspended license (DWLS) and driving under the influence (DUI). When the defendant is sentenced, if the judge orders the DUI sentence to run concurrent with the DWLS sentence, both sentences will run at the same time.


The below diagram shows a concurrent sentence where a defendant has been sentenced to 4 months county jail on a DUI and 2 months county jail on a DWLS. The sentences both run concurrent (together), at month 2 the DWLS sentence is complete, at month 4 the DUI sentence is complete. The defendant will serve a total of 4 months.


Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6


DUI:----------------------------------------

DWLS:--------------


Example of a Consecutive Sentence


Consecutive means one sentence will follow after another. For instance, if the judge orders the defendant to serve consecutive sentences, the person will have to complete one sentence first before beginning to serve the other sentence.


Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6

DUI:-----------------------------------------DWLS:-------------


Example of a Coterminous Sentence


Coterminous means that a sentence will end at the same time as another. For this example let's assume that the person is currently serving a 6 month sentence for a DUI and 2 months before he is released he is sentenced to serve 3 months for a probation violation, the sentence to run coterminous to his DUI sentence. This means that at the conclusion of his DUI sentence, he will be released.


Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6

DUI:---------------------------------------------------------------

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>VOP-----------------


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