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What is Double Jeopardy?

One of the rights we enjoy as Americans is the right to be free of double jeopardy. This means that a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. This is to prevent the government from continuously re-trying people in order to get a conviction or in order to hold them indefinitely as these trials go on and on. So if you are tried for a crime and receive a Not Guilty verdict, you don’t have to worry about being charged for this crime ever again.

This concept is actually one of the oldest in Western civilization. It goes back as far as ancient Greece, where the statesman Demosthenes decreed that people could not be tried twice for the same offense. It then passed on to Rome and into Europe through the Dark Ages. It was adopted by England and became part of our common law system.

It is important to note that if there are federal charges and state charges for the same crime, a person could potentially face charges in both courts. So, for instance, if a person is charged with murder and they are tried at the federal level and found Not Guilty, they could then be tried by the state for the same crime. This is known as the “dual sovereignty” doctrine, and it is well-established in the judicial system.

Because so much is on the line when you have been charged with a crime, it is important to have experienced representation helping you through the process. At Kroll & Johnson, we aggressively fight the charges against you, working diligently to achieve the best possible outcome for your particular case. For a free consultation to discuss your criminal charges, contact a Portland defense attorney at Kroll & Johnson right away.

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