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When Does Double Jeopardy Apply in Criminal Cases?

You have probably heard the term double jeopardy before. Most people think that it means that you cannot be charged for the same crime twice, but that is really only true to a certain extent. There are actually multiple scenarios in which double jeopardy would not really apply. If you are facing a charge of your own, then you should consult with a Bergen County criminal defense attorney from our firm.

Does Double Jeopardy Apply to Different Court Systems?

This is one of the main things to remember about how double jeopardy works. It actually does not apply when you are facing charges in multiple courts. Two different states could charge you with the same crime if your activities allegedly took you across state lines.

You can also be charged by both the state and federal government for some crimes. Your alleged crime violated the law in both jurisdictions, so it is not a violation of double jeopardy to be charged in both courts. If you are facing charges from multiple jurisdictions, you may want to talk to an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

What Happens if There is a Mistrial?

Unfortunately, a prosecutor can still choose to pursue a charge against you even if there is a mistrial. Mistrials can be declared for a few different reasons, but one common reason for them in criminal cases is a hung jury. This is when a jury cannot agree unanimously on a verdict.

Double jeopardy is really only meant to apply in cases when a defendant was found not guilty by a jury. If there was a mistrial, that did not happen. So if a prosecutor decides to try to charge you again after a mistrial was declared, that is actually not a violation of your constitutional rights at all.

What Can a Defense Lawyer Do For Me?

If you find yourself the defendant in multiple criminal cases, it is wise to consider hiring a defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you build the best possible defense and poke holes in the prosecution’s case. Your attorney can:

  • Gather evidence
  • Talk to witnesses
  • Prepare you for testimony
  • Get evidence against you thrown out
  • File motions to dismiss charges
  • Keep you updated on all aspects of your case

Your lawyer will do their best to help you definitively beat charges in each court you are charged in. And if a mistrial is declared and charges are brought against you again, they will still be there to help defend you.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are looking at criminal charges in multiple courts and jurisdictions, you need to take them seriously. Contact the Law Office of Attorney Conway and schedule a consultation. We can tell you more about your legal options and how we will help you form the best possible defense.


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