The double jeopardy has been popular in movies and television courtroom dramas. A great twist for Hollywood productions, double jeopardy is a foundational legal concept the framers of the U.S. Constitution included in order to protect people from being prosecuted or punished more than once for the same crime. While you may have seen the movie, let’s dive deeper into double jeopardy as a critical legal concept in the American justice system.
Criminal defendants are protected from some foundational laws of the U.S. Similarly, the State of Texas also affords individuals certain protections from the criminal justice system. For instance, there needs to be a reasonable suspicion that a person has broken the law in order to be charged with a criminal offense. If taken before a judge or jury, the state carries the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Furthermore, upon conviction of a crime, an individual cannot be tried for the same offense again. This last protection is what is known as double jeopardy protection.
The term “jeopardy,” as it is referred to in the legal realm, refers to the risk involved in the criminal justice system. For instance, when charged with a crime and put on trial, a person is at risk, or in “jeopardy,” of being convicted and sentenced accordingly. Double jeopardy protection, however, only attaches under specific circumstances and it is important to be clear on such circumstances.
For starters, you should know that double jeopardy is only applicable in criminal proceedings. There is no double jeopardy protection in the world of administrative or civil proceedings. Furthermore, a person must have been placed in legal jeopardy for the double jeopardy protection to attach. If legal jeopardy has not occurred, then it is likely possible that prosecutors can proceed in filing subsequent criminal proceedings against the defendant for the same crime. Jeopardy will protect a defendant from being prosecuted for the same offense that they were previously acquitted of or convicted of. It will also provide protection from a person being punished multiple times for the same offense.
When applicable, the double jeopardy protection afforded to us via the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution will act as a protective shield. The Supreme Court has deemed double jeopardy protection to extend past capital crimes. This protection is also afforded to adjudications of felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile delinquencies.
Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys
Double jeopardy is not just a marketable concept for blockbuster movies. It is a very real, very foundational legal concept that offers of critical protection from potential abuse in the criminal justice system. If you are facing criminal charges, knowing your rights and how to protect them will be key to mounting the most effective defense. You can trust the team of criminal defense attorneys at Navarrete & Schwartz to not only protect your rights, but to fight for them and their full enforcement. We are proud to serve the residence of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.