For anyone that has watched a crime drama, you likely have heard of the term, double jeopardy, which just means you cannot be prosecuted twice for the same crime. In this blog post, we will explain what double jeopardy means in Florida and how it applies to criminal cases.
Under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, no person shall “be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This means that once a person is acquitted or convicted of a crime, they cannot be prosecuted again for the same crime by the same jurisdiction.
The purpose of this rule is to protect individuals from harassment and oppression by the government, and to ensure the finality and integrity of verdicts.
State and federal charges
There are some exceptions and limitations to this rule that may allow a person to face multiple prosecutions for the same offense. For example, double jeopardy does not bar separate prosecutions by different sovereigns.
This means that a person can be tried by both state and federal courts for the same crime, since they are considered separate entities with different interests and laws. For instance, a person who commits a bank robbery may face charges from both Florida and the federal government.
Separate prosecutions for different offenses
This means that a person can be tried for multiple crimes that arise from the same conduct, as long as each crime has a different element that the other does not. For example, a person who kills another person with a firearm may face charges for both murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Retrial after a mistrial or an appeal
This means that a person can be tried again for the same crime, if the first trial ended without a verdict due to a hung jury, a legal error or misconduct by the judge or jury. Similarly, a person can be tried again if they successfully appealed their conviction and obtained a reversal or a new trial.
In Florida, double jeopardy is also protected by Article I, Section 9, of the Florida Constitution, which states that “no person shall … be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense.” This follows the same rules and exceptions as the U.S. Constitution.