You may have heard the concept of “double jeopardy” on one of your favorite crime shows, but what does it actually mean? These protections keep criminal defendants from facing prosecution for the same offense. This means that, if you have already received charges for a certain crime, you can’t be charged twice. Today we will look at double jeopardy more in-depth.

Double Jeopardy FAQ 

double jeopardyWhat does the double jeopardy clause state? Double jeopardy is covered under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It provides that “No person shall… be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This means that you are unable, under most circumstances, to face prosecution more than once for the same offense. 

Am I eligible? Only certain crimes qualify for this special protection. The constitutional right is not limited to capital crimes or corporal punishment. Protection will instead extend to felonies, misdemeanors, adjudications for juveniles, and more. It is difficult to show when double jeopardy begins, but here is how it ends: It can be terminated after a jury’s verdict of acquittal, after a trial court’s dismissal, after a trial court grants mistrial, and on appeal after conviction. 

What are some reasons for double jeopardy protection? Here are some of the reasons why double jeopardy is used:

  • Prevent the government from using resources to wear down an innocent person
  • Protect you from financial and emotional consequences
  • Preserve finality of your criminal proceeding
  • Eliminate judicial discretion

Should I contact an attorney? Yes, because double jeopardy protections are not always as easy as they seem. This means that this area of the law may be difficult for you to understand on your own, and you may have questions about “what the same offense is” when you have been charged with a crime. It is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible in your case, so call us today.