Law & Legal & Attorney Criminal Law & procedure

What Does it Mean to Be Acquitted?


    • Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines the word "acquittal" as "a setting free from the charge of an offense..." In other words, if you are acquitted, it means that you have been found not guilty of the crime for which you were indicted. It is the opposite of a conviction.

    Judge and Jury

    • Acquittals can be handed down by either a judge or a trial jury, and both instances carry different meanings. Typically, a jury acquittal is final, and there is no way for it to be appealed or reversed. However, a judge's acquittal may be found to be simply a mistrial or dismissal. Furthermore, if a jury convicts you and the judge later acquits, the prosecution may appeal.

    Double Jeopardy

    • An acquittal is so important to the country's version of jurisprudence that the courts have made it illegal to try you for the same crime twice. This means that being acquitted carries with it the rule that even if evidence against you is found later, you will not be brought back to trial. This law stands as a defense against unconstitutional government action.

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