The United States Constitution provides a variety of rights for individuals. The first 10 amendments of this document are known as the Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment has protections against self-incrimination and double jeopardy.
Understanding what double jeopardy means is important for some defendants because they shouldn’t face criminal charges twice for the same crime. This is an important right for the defendant but also for the criminal justice system.
1. Double jeopardy taxes the court system
If defendants had to face charges until the prosecution could get a conviction, the dockets would be very full. By preventing double jeopardy, the Fifth Amendment sets an important precedent for respecting the decisions that are made by juries and judges.
2. Defendants can face unending stress
Without the protection against double jeopardy, the defendant would face a never-ending battle. The government could keep bringing the charges back up, which would cost the defendant a lot of time and money. For someone who’s innocent, the vicious cycle could halt their life.
3. More than one trial is sometimes possible
Some defendants may face more than one legal trial stemming from a single crime. This is the case when they face a criminal charge and the victim files a civil lawsuit. These cases are independent of each other, so one can be in favor of the defendant while the other isn’t.
Anyone facing criminal charges should work with someone to help them evaluate their defense options. Understanding your rights is an important part of defense planning. Be sure you get started quickly so you can present a defense in your best interests instead of one planned in a rush.