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Why does 3+2 not always make 5 in criminal sentencing?

Knowing how to handle your criminal case depends partly on understanding the consequences of a conviction. There are sometimes considerable advantages to accepting a plea deal or a lesser charge, and sometimes there are not. If you face multiple charges, understanding the math will be crucial. Yet judges have different ways of adding things up when sentencing. They can give you a consecutive sentence, where three years plus two years equals five years because you serve them one after the other. Or a concurrent sentence where three years plus two years equals three years because you serve them simultaneously.

How does the judge decide?

The judge will look at the details of your case when making a decision. The more severe the charge, or the more details that aggravate it (make it worse), the less chance you will get a concurrent sentence. How sorry you appear and any past history can also play into it. For instance, defrauding two people at once with the same scam and showing remorse may result in a concurrent term if you are lucky. Assaulting two people in a bar then continuing to threaten them in the courtroom is more likely to result in you serving consecutive terms.

These are not the only factors that affect the length you serve

A sentence is one thing. How long you spend behind bars is another. There are often ways to get your sentence reduced or get out early on parole. Get legal help to understand the full scope of sentencing options available to a judge and the total range of defense options available to you.

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