Consecutive Sentencing Part I

There is some confusion out there regarding the difference between consecutive sentencing and concurrent sentencing. This issue comes up most frequently arises when a person:

  • pleads guilty or is convicted of multiple felonies
  • commits a felony while on probation or parole
  • commits a new crime while on bond or while incarcerated

Consecutive sentencing is when a person must complete one prison or jail sentence before beginning to serve time on the next one. For example, if someone is serving a 3 year sentence for and then gets a convicted of something else, the sentence on the new crime would not begin until the 3 years is up. This obviously can add a lot of time to one’s time in prison. That is why most defendants prefer concurrent sentences.

Concurrent sentences allow a person to serve multiple sentences at the same time, getting credit for all of them at once. Fortunately, this is the norm in Michigan. However, there are certain instances when consecutive sentencing does occur.

The first is when the legislature makes it mandatory as part of a statute and the second is when the judge has discretion to sentence a defendant consecutively. Not surprisingly, the legislature has been steadily adding provisions whereby consecutive sentencing is becoming more common.

The next part of this blog will discuss mandatory consecutive sentencing. That blog will be followed by one discussing discretionary consecutive sentencing.