The legal implications of an acquittal and a not-guilty verdict are essentially the same. A not-guilty verdict is an acquittal. However, it is not a finding of innocence.
Courts do not make findings that individuals are innocent of the crimes with which they are charged. A jury, or in some cases, a trial judge, makes a finding that individuals are not guilty, or that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, a not guilty verdict is not the only means of getting an acquittal. It is possible to be found guilty by a judge or jury, appeal that finding, and have an appellate court overturn the guilty verdict, which acquits the individual.
What is the Difference Between an Acquittal and a Not-Guilty Verdict?
Once an individual is acquitted of a criminal offense, the prosecution cannot appeal the acquittal. The constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy prevents the prosecution from continuing to pursue the individual for the same crime. Once an acquittal occurs, double jeopardy already has attached and the defendant can no longer face charges for the same crime, except under a very narrow exception.
There also is the possibility that an individual could obtain a partial acquittal. This means that the jury or judge found the individual not guilty of some charges or counts, but guilty of others. The individual then can face the criminal sanctions for the charges or counts of which the individual was found guilty
If you are facing criminal charges, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that all of your rights a protected at all stages of your criminal proceedings. At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you any accusations of wrongdoing that you may be facing. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.