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What is double jeopardy in the Fifth Amendment?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Many people know that they have a number of specific rights if they’re charged with a crime. Many of these are laid out in the United States Constitution and its amendments. The Fifth Amendment, in addition to its protection against self-incrimination, includes a protection against double jeopardy.

Double jeopardy means that a person can’t be tried more than once for the same crime. This helps to maintain the integrity of the criminal justice system because it prevents prosecutors from being able to just re-try someone for an offense if they’re unhappy with the outcome of the initial case. It’s akin to a system of checks and balances for the prosecutors.

What courts must comply?

While the Fifth Amendment is a federal law, it filters down to the lower courts. It’s imperative that all states comply with double jeopardy protections so that defendants are not facing emotional and financial tolls that can come when a person has to continually answer for the same crime.

Why can a person face criminal and civil actions against them for one crime?

A person who has been accused of a crime that included damage to a victim can face a case in civil court from the alleged victim as well as another case in criminal court for the same actions. This is because criminal and civil court are two different jurisdictions, so the double jeopardy protection doesn’t apply.

Anyone who is facing criminal charges must ensure that they know their rights. By seeking experienced legal guidance, you can help protect your rights and present a defense.