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Acquitted versus Not Guilty: How are they Different?


A person facing criminal charges such as domestic violence in Las Vegas only wishes one thing: to avoid conviction, and that lies in the final verdict of the court. The verdict will determine if the defendant had been granted that wish. A “not guilty verdict” and “acquitted” are two words that are often confused. Sometimes, it is a matter of which word has a better ring to it and one that shows that you are truly innocent but they are actually two different terms with distinct meanings each. Probe this blog about acquittal vs. not guilty to learn more about their differences.

Meaning of not guilty and acquitted

Often interchanged, not guilty and acquitted are actually separate terms in the legal terminology and could also be differentiated if we are looking at the English lexicon. A not guilty verdict means the defendant is not accountable for the particular crime or some certain parts of it. For example, you are liable for domestic violence but not guilty of the death of the victim as it was an accident or he or she brought it upon himself or herself.

Now acquitted means the prosecution cannot prove that you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt. In simpler terms, an acquittal is a general term for not guilty verdicts. So, you are acquitted of a particular crime because you are found not guilty of it. Partial acquittal happens if you are still found guilty of other crimes being charged against you.

It is also not just because of a not guilty verdict why some defendants are acquitted. Sometimes, judges just decide to end the case because there is no point of going ahead with the case (i.e., there is no sufficient evidence to support the claims of the plaintiff).

One must also know that in the legal world, you are not exactly innocent even if you were found not guilty and then acquitted, it is only so because the prosecution failed to prove your responsibility of the crime.

Double Jeopardy

This is also one of the most-heard jargons in the court. Double jeopardy is a decree that aims to protect a defendant from being tried for the same crime twice. For example, if you are acquitted of domestic violence in Las Vegas then the prosecution cannot appeal the decision as it will cause a double jeopardy.

Other confusing terms

Apart from the whole acquitted versus not guilty bout, there are other verdict terms that often confuse people.

There is the dismissal term which is different from being acquitted. Dismissal happens in the early stages of the court process and decided on when the judge believes that the case will only squander time and effort of everyone as the case actually has no credibility at all.

Dropping of charges is also one term that are usually substituted to acquittal and, sometimes, to a not guilty verdict. The charges against a defendant can only be dropped by the prosecutor or the officer who did the arrest. Usually, the reason for charge dropping is when the prosecutor could not find a way to prove the guilt of the defendant due to lack of evidence, or when the victim backs out and chooses not to participate.

Being acquitted of a crime might be possibly one of the best things that can happen to you. It simply means that you are not liable of the crime and it was brought down by the final authority of a court for everyone to see. To ensure that this is the outcome of the current case you are facing, work with a criminal defense attorney in Las Vegas that knows how to guide you on your way to a not guilty verdict and your eventual acquittal from the crime.

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