Dallas Pardon Expungement Lawyer

Acquittals and Double Jeopardy

The United States legal system offers a variety of protections for defendants accused of a crime – the right to counsel, the right to a fair trial, the right to remain silent, just to name a few examples. Many of these rights are stated or implied by the language of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution.

The concept of “double jeopardy” is also derived from the Fifth Amendment, which states: “…nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” In practice, the courts have interpreted this clause to mean that no one can be tried for the same crime twice. However, under current doctrine, the double jeopardy clause does not protect a defendant for being tried for the same crime in both state and federal court, or in a foreign country.

Although several other countries, including England, also have double jeopardy protections, the United States has a comparatively expansive interpretation. For example, in England, an exception to the double jeopardy rule exists which permits another trial if “new and compelling” evidence comes to light after an acquittal. In the United States, however, judgments of acquittal are nearly absolute; though a defendant is allowed to appeal a guilty verdict, the prosecution cannot appeal an acquittal, unless the defendant was never in jeopardy during the trial at all.

Double jeopardy also does not protect a defendant from being sued in civil court for the same offense that they are acquitted of in criminal court. In the famous O.J. Simpson case, the former football star was acquitted of criminal charges, but lost the related civil suit brought against him by the family of the deceased.

Although you are acquitted of a crime, the charges may still remain on your criminal record and affect your life in the future. Expungement may be an option for you to consider. Call Dallas expungement lawyer Mark Lassiter today to learn more.

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