Can I be charged in 2 different counties for same offense?

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Can I be charged in 2 different counties for same offense?

Asked on May 15, 2014 under Criminal Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Not in two counties of the same state, since the state is a single source of legal authority (the counties get their power from the state), and a single source of legal authority cannot charge you multiple times for the same offense. That said, it has to be the *same* charge--different charges based on the same facts could be brought. For example: say you committed a robbery in county A then fled to county B. A could charge you with the robbery; B could charge you with resisting arrest (if you fled from or otherwise resisted the police there), even though both charges stem essentially from the same incident.

Also, the two counties could each file charges against you, but they will ultimately end up having to consolidate them--for example, one county may drop its charge so the other can go ahead.

Finally, you could easily be charged for the exact same thing by two counties in two different states, since each state could charge you independently of the other--each state is a separate source of legal power and authority.


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