Being sentenced consecutively versus being sentenced concurrently has huge ramifications on how long you will be in jail or prison. Here are the basic rules of concurrent versus consecutive sentencing in Utah you should be aware of.
Concurrent Example. You are currently serving a prison term on a felony two second degree, 1-15 years in prison. While in prison you are subsequently convicted of distribution of Heroin. The sentencing judge orders your new Heroin sentence to run concurrent with your current prison sentence. Meaning your new Heroin sentence, whether 1-5 years in prison or one year in jail, will run concurrent, or at the same time, as your prior prison sentence.
Concurrent Example. You are charged with two drug charges during the same criminal episode. A Class B Misdemeanor for Paraphernalia and a Class B Misdemeanor for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana). You plead guilty to both charges and the judge orders each conviction to run concurrently to each other. Meaning both sentences will start at the same time, end at the same time and run concurrent to each other.
Consecutive Sentencing. Consecutive sentencing means two or more sentences are stacked on top of each other and only start to run when the prior sentence ends.
Consecutive Example. You are serving a second degree felony 1-15 year prison sentence. While in prison you are convicted of Heroin trafficking. The sentencing judge for your Heroin case orders the Heroin sentence to only begin once your 1-15 second degree felony sentence is over.
Consecutive Example. You are charged with two drug charges during the same criminal episode. A Class B Misdemeanor for Paraphernalia and a Class B Misdemeanor for Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana). You plead guilty to both charges and the judge orders each conviction to run consecutively to each other. So your hypothetical 60 days jail ordered in the possession case will start and finish, whereafter you will immediately start your next hypothetical 100 days for the drug paraphernalia conviction.
Consecutive Example. You are convicted in three different second degree felonies of Forcible Sexual Abuse. Each count has a potential 1-15 years in prison. The sentencing judge hears all three cases together and orders each sex offense conviction to run consecutive to each other. You will start your first 1-15 year prison sentence. Once that first 1-15 year prison sentence is over, you will start your second 1-15 year prison sentence and then onto your third sex offense conviction.
In most minor cases, third degree felonies and below most judges run sentences concurrent to each other. But it can happen when a judge on misdemeanors cases run sentences consecutively. This usually occurs in aggravating circumstances, such as a DUI causing injury, asaultive crimes or habitual offenders.