What is Double Jeopardy in a Criminal Case?

What is Double Jeopardy

The first thing that may come to mind when you hear the term double jeopardy is a high stakes TV game show, but it adopts a completely different meaning in the criminal justice system. Double jeopardy is a clause in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that protects individuals from being tried twice for the same crime. This clause is the reason why rappers can mention crimes in their lyrics and celebrities can write tell-alls about crimes for which they were found not guilty.

However, not all states acknowledge this right, and there are a few exemptions that can be applied depending on the facts of a case. Join us as we explore the purpose of double jeopardy in the American criminal justice system and what actions to take if you believe your rights under the Fifth Amendment are violated. 

Why Do We Have Double Jeopardy?

Standing trial is no walk in the park. The process can be financially, emotionally, and physically draining to the point of having far-reaching implications on the accused and their loved ones. It is for this reason why the double jeopardy clause was added to the Fifth Amendment. Double jeopardy also interrupts the government’s ability to use extensive resources to convict an innocent person.

In summary, double jeopardy plays a vital role in protecting the integrity of criminal proceedings by ensuring that all rulings are final. This, in turn, stops the government from altering verdicts delivered by a jury that they may disagree with.

The Application of Double Jeopardy in a Criminal Case

A prime example of double jeopardy would be if you faced trial for grand theft and were eventually acquitted. However, the state believes that they have a better chance at a conviction if they approach the case from an alternate angle. Double jeopardy denies the state the opportunity to do this as you cannot be tried twice for the same crime.

What double jeopardy does not protect against, however, is the state’s ability to charge you with a more severe crime that was committed alongside the lesser crime. For example, per the previously mentioned case, the state could still charge you with a murder linked to the theft afterward even though you were acquitted of the theft charges.

How a Seasoned Defense Attorney Can Help

While many people have a general understanding of their rights under the Constitution, few grasp the full scope. State prosecutors are aware of this and will often target individuals who lack qualified legal representation and push the envelope for personal gain. Let prosecutors know that you take your case and the charges you face seriously by acquiring legal representation from a highly regarded criminal defense attorney.

The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm are Board Certifed Criminal Trial lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience. Having served as prosecutors on the state and local level, we are well aware of the tactics implemented by the state and can use our knowledge to help always keep you a step ahead. Secure legal representation from passionate defense attorneys who will always have your best interests at heart. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.