Double jeopardy rules are an important protection for those accused of criminal offenses. They protect someone from malicious, repeat prosecution. If someone convinces a jury that they are not guilty of a criminal offense, they should not face prosecution for the same crime based on the same circumstance again.
The protection against double jeopardy is one that many people have a difficult time understanding. Some people, for example, wrongfully assume that double jeopardy protections will prevent them from filing a civil lawsuit after the courts convict someone of a crime.
A recent high-profile prosecution involving a famous musician can help clarify a crucial distinction involving double jeopardy protections.
Kelly has to go back to criminal court
Prosecutors brought charges against R. Kelly for alleged sexual offenses against young girls in 2008. The allegations against him included grooming, as well as active sexual manipulation and intentional isolation of the young women involved from their families and other social supports.
However, the prosecution of R. Kelly for these alleged sex crimes was unsuccessful. Now, he faces new charges involving the same woman as the prior set of charges. This time, however, the charges against him are different and actually relate to the unsuccessful previous prosecution. One of the allegations includes witness tampering.
Since the state was able to gather enough evidence to support an entirely new set of criminal charges related to his prior prosecution but not involving the same sex crimes, it was possible to arrest and prosecute R. Kelly a second time. The outcome of that trial is still far from determined, as the case has yet to even select a jury.
Criminal laws confuse many people
The rights that you have while in state custody and the rules that apply both to your prosecution and your defense can be hard to understand as someone without a background in the law. You will likely need professional advice and support as you prepare to respond to criminal charges.
Evaluating your case to determine if it involves a violation of your right, such as a case of double jeopardy where you face prosecution twice for the same offense, can help you determine the best criminal defense options for your case.