Double jeopardy protection can make sure you don't face penalties for a crime you've already been tried for. There are many reasons that double jeopardy protections have been put into place in the U.S. judicial system.
For example, without double jeopardy, it could be possible for the government to try a person over and over again until they are exhausted financially and emotionally. That could lead to an innocent person being convicted of a crime.
Successive prosecutions can also have a serious impact on individuals' lives financially, emotionally and socially. This could result in an individual pleading guilty to avoid further trials, even though they may have been proven innocent in the past.
Double jeopardy rules also prevent the government from ignoring verdicts it doesn't agree with. Double jeopardy also eliminates the chance of cumulative punishments and restricts the prosecution's discretion over the charging process.
In a jury trial, you receive double jeopardy protections the moment the jury is sworn in. If you're in a criminal trial without a jury, then jeopardy begins when the first witness is sworn in. Jeopardy ends when a person is acquitted, if a case is dismissed, if there is a mistrial or if there is an appeal after a conviction.
If you think you've been a victim of double jeopardy violations or want to make sure your case is treated fairly, our website has information on what you can do to protect yourself. You deserve fair representation and a fair trial; without it, you could be convicted unfairly or be given a punishment that you simply don't deserve.