Double Jeopardy in Florida
The movies often use the phrase ‘double jeopardy’ to get the audience more involved in the plot. This in the end often baffles the viewers and they are no better informed as to what the term actually means.
Double jeopardy - what does it really mean in Florida?
The U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment and Florida Constitution Article 1, Section 9 both prohibit an individual from being twice “put in jeopardy” for exactly the same offense. This means it is not possible to be prosecuted more than once for the same crime. Double jeopardy can act as a defense in a criminal prosecution as it protects you from:
• having to face a retrial for the same crime after you have been acquitted; • facing a retrial for exactly the same crime if you have already been convicted; • being handed out more than one sentence on a single criminal conviction.
How double jeopardy works
This concept applies to all criminal cases, whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony. However, it doesn’t have any effect on civil cases or administrative proceedings. This means that in a civil court you could still faced being sued for damages, despite the fact you have in the criminal case been acquitted or dismissed of any such charges.
There is a good example of the wrongful death lawsuit filed against O.J. Simpson by the Goldman family. This family won $33.5 million in a verdict by a jury. Double jeopardy wasn’t applicable as the criminal case and civil suit are classified as separate proceedings.
Administrative proceedings are also separate from criminal matters. This means you could face punishment for an administrative hearing finding and also a conviction in the criminal court. For example, if you were found guilty and convicted for DUI in Florida and the sentence imposed was a fine, jail or probation and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has a case against you as well in relation to driving privileges. As the DMV is an administrative agency, it can go ahead and suspend your driver’s license and not be affected by the rules of double jeopardy.
Double jeopardy will not be applicable where:
• you were physically arrested, detained for a short period and released due to insufficient evidence; • you were convicted on criminal charges, but later you were lucky as they were dismissed.
In both cases, jeopardy is not relevant. Law enforcers may still arrest you and prosecutors could still go ahead with your case. On the contrary, you will be protected by double jeopardy:
• if a jury was sworn in for your trial; • when the 1st witness is sworn in, when a case is being supervised by a judge; • you accept a plea bargain.
You should contact Miami based criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes Esq. as soon as possible if you have been arrested or charged for any type of criminal offense. You cannot be convicted of any crime if there is double jeopardy involved and in any case, you are considered innocent unless evidence beyond reasonable doubt of your guilt is presented. You can contact Albert Quirantes at his law firm office at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.