A criminal offender may be found guilty of two or more separate crimes during one trial. In such cases, the judge may allow the offender to serve jail time for all of these crimes at the same time. This phenomenon, where prison terms for two or more offenses are served at the same time, one after another is known as a concurrent sentence.
A concurrent sentence is different from a consecutive sentence. With a consecutive sentence, a defendant serves time for each crime. For example, two five year sentences and one four year sentence, if served concurrently, would result in a maximum of five years in prison. Whereas, two five year sentences and one four year sentence, if served consecutively, would result in 14 years in prison.