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What is double jeopardy?

| Jan 16, 2018 | Criminal Defense |

Double jeopardy is something mentioned a lot on television shows, and there even was a movie made about it. However, its prevalence in Minnesota courtrooms is not usually as dramatic. To really understand this legal concept, you have to first learn what it means and how it is applied within the law. 

Cornell Law School explains double jeopardy is when you are prosecuted twice for the same crime. It is your right to not be subjected to this under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. It has also be adopted by each state to extend your right to not be subject to double jeopardy at the state level as well. 

It does not cover being liable to both criminal and civil action for the same crime. A good example is OJ Simpson. He was tried in criminal court for murder. He was also tried in civil court for his liability for the murders. Each case was completely separate. He won his criminal trial but lost the civil ones. However, it does prevent you from being tried as a juvenile for a crime and then being later charged as an adult for the same crime. 

It is important to note that the crime must be the exact same crime. For example, if you are tried for breaking into the corner drugstore on January 1, 2017, then you can never again be tried for breaking into the corner drugstore on January 1, 2017. However, if you decide to break into the drugstore again on March 13, 2017, then this would be a new crime, which you can be tried for. This information is for education and is not legal advice.