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Florida Teen Receives Consecutive Life Sentences

A Florida teen was recently sentenced as an adult to life imprisonment. The teen was 15-years-old when he took part in a 15-day crime spree in which property was damaged and two individuals were killed. The teen pled guilty to charges of first-degree murder and armed burglary and received two consecutive life sentences. This is a severe sentence for the teen, who will likely spend several decades of his life behind bars before he might be eligible for parole or commutation of his sentence.

Concurrent vs. Consecutive Sentences

When sentencing an adult defendant on multiple counts, a court may choose to impose the sentences on each individual count concurrent with the sentences in other counts or consecutively with the sentences in other counts. Imposing a sentence concurrently means that the sentences will run at the same time. For instance, suppose a defendant is convicted of two counts and the court imposes a 12-month term of imprisonment for each count. Suppose further that the court orders each sentence to run concurrently with each other. The defendant in this case would serve 12-months of imprisonment and, in so doing, would satisfy the sentence for both counts.

Conversely, when sentences are imposed consecutively the sentences will run “back-to-back” to one another. The sentence imposed for one count will not begin until the sentence for the other count has been completed. Using the example above, suppose that the sentences for each count is ordered to run consecutive to one another. The total time that the defendant would spend in prison would be 24 months. The defendant would serve 12 months for the first count before he or she would begin serving the sentence for the other count.

Sentences in Cases Can Also Run Concurrently or Consecutively

Just as the sentences for multiple counts in the same case can be ordered to run concurrently or consecutively with one another, so too can the sentences from multiple cases. In certain situations, the sentencing judge may have no alternative other than to run sentences from multiple cases consecutive to one another. In other cases, the decision of whether to run the sentences concurrent or consecutive to one another is left to the discretion of the sentencing court.

Factors that might persuade a court to order sentences from multiple cases to run concurrently with one another as opposed to consecutively include:

  • Any plea agreement between the parties;
  • Defendant’s lack of a significant criminal history;
  • Remorse expressed by the defendant over commission of the crime;
  • Age of the defendant; and
  • Whether the crimes affected an individual’s person (battery, manslaughter, etc.) or a person’s property (theft, criminal damage to property, etc.).

Jeffrey Weiner, South Florida criminal defense attorney, advocates zealously on behalf of his clients and can provide beneficial advocacy for clients who are facing misdemeanor or felony sentencing proceedings. He will persuasively present the positive facts in your case and can assist you in obtaining concurrent sentences. Contact his office today to discuss your case by calling (305) 670-9919 or by completing the firm’s online form.

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