The phrase double jeopardy might bring to mind the second half of popular tv game show or the 1999 Tommy Lee Jones and Ashley Judd film. However, it is a much more serious and in-depth topic. The 1999 movie title is a reference to a concept that has been part of criminal law for hundreds of years. The fifth amendment to U.S. Constitution states that no one can “be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb” for the same thing. In its most simplified version, this means that if a person has already been tried for a crime, he or she cannot be tried again.

There are four parts to the double jeopardy protection.

• Subsequent prosecution after acquittal

• Subsequent prosecution after conviction

• Subsequent prosecution after certain mistrials

• Multiple punishment in the same indictment

The first three deal with different types of trial outcomes. A person could be acquitted (found not guilty), convicted (found guilty), or something could happen, to cause no decision to be made. If any of these outcomes happen the person cannot be retried for the crime. This is also true, sometimes, if no decision is decided upon and the trial is a mistrial. The fourth part protects a person from having multiple punishments for the same crime. A person cannot be put in jail for five years, released, and then brought back to jail later for the same crime. If he commits the same type of crime again, he can be punished again, but he cannot be punished more than once for original incident.

There are some common misunderstandings about double jeopardy. Multiple charges can still occur from one crime. If a thief breaks into a house, assaults the homeowner, and steals some money he or she can be charged for each of those things even though they occurred at the same time. There is also the exception of “double sovereignty”. If a crime is committed that violates both state and federal criminal law both the state government and the U.S. Government can charge the individual. This is not double jeopardy because it is not the same court charging the person twice, but two different courts each charging the individual once.
If you have questions about double jeopardy or need a criminal law lawyer in Emporia KS contact Helbert And Allemang Law Offices to talk to a Criminal Law Lawyer in Emporia KS.