An acquittal essentially means that the defendant is found not guilty of charges against him or her. An acquittal can come in the form of a not guilty verdict by a jury, or it can be granted by a judge in certain situations.
In criminal trials, defendants are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. When there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty or when there is evidence that proves the defendant’s innocence, an acquittal can be granted. This usually happens after both the prosecution and the defense have argued their cases. At this point, the defense will file a motion to acquit.
A motion to acquit can also be filed if the defense decides to forgo a jury trial and have the case tried before a judge.
Double jeopardy laws state that a defendant cannot be charged or tried for the same crime twice. That means after a not guilty verdict, the defense is free from charges and any potential punishments even if new evidence is uncovered. The prosecution cannot appeal a not guilty verdict, but they can appeal an acquittal in some cases if the defendant was found guilty but acquitted for another reason by a judge.
The straightforward answer is to work with the best lawyer you can find. The attorneys at Tracey Wood & Associates have a track record of getting clients acquitted. Contact us today to schedule a free review of your case.