Simple English definitions for legal terms

double jeopardy

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A quick definition of double jeopardy:

Double jeopardy means that a person cannot be punished twice for the same crime. This is a rule in the US Constitution that says no one can be put in danger of being punished twice for the same offense. This rule applies to criminal cases and some civil cases. It also applies to cases where a person is tried as a juvenile and then later as an adult for the same crime. However, it does not apply to civil asset forfeiture, which is when the government takes someone's property because they believe it was used in a crime.

A more thorough explanation:

Double Jeopardy is a legal term that means a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime. This is protected by the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution, which states that "No person shall...be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."

The Double Jeopardy rule only applies to punishments that can be considered as "punishment." For example, civil sanctions that are applied in a punitive manner can be considered punishment and therefore qualify under the rule.

The Double Jeopardy Clause originally only applied to the federal government, but through the incorporation doctrine, it has been incorporated against the states as well.

Examples of situations where double jeopardy applies include:

  • If a person is tried as a juvenile for a crime, they cannot be tried again as an adult for the same crime.
  • If a person is acquitted of a crime, they cannot be tried again for the same crime.
  • If a person is punished with a civil sanction that is considered punishment, they cannot be punished again for the same offense.

Overall, double jeopardy is an important protection for individuals against being unfairly punished multiple times for the same offense.

dooced | double taxation


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