14 - What is the difference between a concurrent sentence and a consecutive sentence and how does that apply in sex crimes cases?
In the state of Arizona, the legislative branch has implemented mandatory sentencing guidelines that must be followed by the courts for all criminal offenses. These guidelines, which have been codified in the Arizona Revised Statutes, dictate the mandatory minimum and mandatory maximum sentencing ranges that a criminal defendant faces for any given crime. These ranges vary depending upon the nature of the offense, felony level of the offense, and prior criminal history of the offender. In some instances, the legislative branch has deemed certain crimes to be so dangerous, heinous, cruel, or morally devoid, that an offender’s sentence must be served consecutively to any other prison sentence for any other offense or charge. This is called “consecutive sentencing” or “stacked sentencing” and means that the offender’s prison sentence must be served back to back for each count. In other instances, the legislative branch has decided that certain offenses may be served concurrently. This is called “concurrent sentencing” and means that an offender may serve his or her prison sentence for each offense at the same time.
The state of Arizona imposes severe consequences in sexual offense cases. Almost
all sexual offenses, particularly those against children, also known as Dangrous
Crimes Against Children, or DCAC charges, require consecutive sentencing regardless
of whether or not the judge would prefer to allow for concurrent sentencing. For
example, if you have been convicted of Sexual Conduct with a Minor, a Dangerous Crimes
Against Children, your sentence must served consecutively for each count or charged
act. If the victim is under 12 years old, you must serve a life sentence for each
count back to back.
For more information about sentencing, see: Arizona Sex Crimes Section