What is Double Jeopardy in Arizona?

what is double jeopardyMost people know that you can’t be tried for the same crime twice. We see it all the time in movies and television. But what is double jeopardy? Why do we have it? It is not as simply as many people think. Usually, we hear about double jeopardy when it comes to a famous murder trial. We see an infamous killer get acquitted of murder and we get outraged. The question is always, why can’t they just try him again?

The right against double jeopardy is found in the 5th amendment to the United States Constitution. It essentially protects citizens against being tried multiple times for the same offense. This was to make sure the government couldn’t repeatedly try someone for a crime in order to cause shame and embarrassment. It was not the founding fathers’ intent to let criminals get away with murder.

Double Jeopardy in Arizona

Arizona follows the federal rules against double jeopardy. Article 2 of the Arizona State Constitution states that no person shall have to endure two trials for the same crime. The real problem is not with the state trying people twice for the same crime. The problems arise when a person is charged with a crime and the judge declares a mistrial.

A mistrial is when the judge stops the trial because the prosecutor did something that violates procedure. This can happen when evidence is discussed that isn’t admissible. It can also happen if the judge finds out the jury is tainted. There are all kinds of reasons why a judge may declare a mistrial.

If this happens, it appears that per the state constitution the state can’t try the defendant a second time. The law states that you can’t try a person for the same offense twice, right? Almost.

When Is it Not Double Jeopardy?

If a judge declares a mistrial, he has two choices. He can dismiss it either with or without prejudice. If he dismisses it without prejudice, the state can have another trial. This is because the first trial was not completed.

The other option the judge has is to dismiss the case with prejudice. This means that the case is over and no further proceedings can be brought against the defendant. A judge will only do this if he feels something so terrible has taken place that the defendant can never again receive a fair trial.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Arizona

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Arizona, you need to call an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You are going to need a skilled professional by your side to put up a good defense. He will ensure that the prosecutor doesn’t violate your constitutional rights. And, if he does, he will make a motion to have your case dismissed.

If you’ve been arrested, chances are the state has some evidence against you. Your criminal defense lawyer will find out what that evidence is and argue against it. He will work hard to get the charges dismissed or get you acquitted

Click here for information on Arizona criminal justice reform.