Double jeopardy is a term used to describe a type of protection for Americans that prevents unfair trials and imprisonment. Laws pertaining to double jeopardy indicate that somebody cannot face charges for the same crime twice, essentially. These laws are meant to protect those who might find themselves in court.
Have you been charged with the same crime more than once? Are you worried about double jeopardy in your criminal defense court? This is what you need to know.
Double Jeopardy Helps Prevent Wrongful Convictions
The goal of double jeopardy laws is to protect people from facing wrongful convictions. Once you are acquitted after a trial, a prosecutor cannot keep pursuing a case in order to ensure that you are punished, for example. These laws are meant to protect you.
An Example of Double Jeopardy
Double jeopardy protects you in a number of different ways. These are some of the examples in which double jeopardy applies:
- You cannot face charges for the exact same offense you were acquitted of
- You cannot face several convictions for the same offense
- You cannot face more than one sentence for the same offense
Of course, this seems simple. The fact is that these cases can be much more complicated than this.
The Law Can Be a Little More Complicated
Of course, it is important to realize that the laws are more complicated than they appear. For instance, double jeopardy does not mean you cannot be charged with a crime and then face the same allegations in civil court. For instance, you can be charged with vehicular homicide related to a DUI in criminal court, and then face a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit in civil court.
You can also face lesser charges for the same offense. For example, you may be found not guilty of murder, but you could be found guilty of manslaughter. You could also be acquitted in state court but be found guilty in federal court.
Because the law can be so complicated, it is important that you have a criminal defense attorney looking out for your rights.
Consult With a Criminal Defense Attorney
A criminal defense attorney can help you decipher the law and ensure that you are well-represented. It is important that you understand the laws and how to protect yourself, but complicated laws can make this difficult. Your attorney is there to help. Set up a consultation today to learn more about your options