What Is Double Jeopardy in Criminal Law?

What Prevents You from Being Charged Again for the Same Crime?

What Is Double Jeopardy in Criminal Law?You’ve been arrested, charged and prosecuted for a crime, but the jury acquitted you. Can you be prosecuted again for the same event? If not, what prohibits that?

The concept of multiple prosecutions for the same criminal act is known as “double jeopardy.” Double jeopardy has a long history in criminal law, with measures in force in England to prevent it long before the American Revolution. The founding fathers considered protection against the practice to be so important that they included language in the 5th Amendment banning it. The relevant language states that no person shall “be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.”

When Does Double Jeopardy Not Apply?

Here are some specific instances where double jeopardy does not apply:

  • It does not prevent a criminal and a civil action related to the same event, unless the civil lawsuit is deemed punitive in nature or purpose
  • It does not prevent retrial if the original prosecution results in a mistrial
  • It does not prevent retrial if there is evidence of jury misconduct
  • It does not prevent retrial if a guilty verdict is overturned on appeal

Aggressive Baltimore Criminal Defense Lawyer

Attorney Jonathan Scott Smith brings more than three decades of proven experience to criminal defendants across the Baltimore metropolitan area and the state of Maryland, including people charged with violent crimes. He has been received an AV-rating (the highest rating possible) under Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Rating System from his colleagues in the Maryland bar for more than 34 years. He has been ranked among the top 100 lawyers in Maryland listed by SuperLawyers and was named a Top-Rated Lawyer by The American Lawyer Magazine. He has also earned Martindale-Hubbell’s Client Distinction Award, awarded to less than 4% of all lawyers nationwide.

Over the past 30 years, attorney Smith has successfully protected the rights of individuals facing all types of criminal charges, including prosecution for domestic violence or abuse. He will work hard to protect your constitutional rights, fully investigating your case to verify that law enforcement officers and prosecutors follow proper procedures when gathering evidence. He’ll question all potential witnesses and preserve all relevant evidence, so that he can prepare and present the most compelling arguments for your acquittal.

Attorney Smith has been listed among the top 100 attorneys in Maryland by the National Trial Lawyers Association, a “by invitation only” professional organization. He holds a 10.0 (Superb) rating as a trial attorney from AVVO, as well as AVVO’s Client’s Choice Award, with an average client review of 5 stars.

Aggressive Howard County Criminal Defense Attorney

Contact our office by e-mail or call 410-740-0101 for a free initial consultation. We represent criminal defendants in Carroll County, Frederick County, Howard County, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County in Maryland.


  • Jonathan Scott Smith 10490 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 200 ,Columbia, MD 21044-4960

  • Call for consultation 410-740-0101