Can you be charged twice for the same crime?

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Can you be charged twice for the same crime?

If one court room judge throws a case out due to “No probable cause”, and an individual goes to court on a totally different issue, can a different judge “re-institute” a previous charge (at that time), which was previously “thrown out” by an officiating judge–due to “No probable cause”?

Asked on June 5, 2009 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that the double jeopardy clause of the 5th amendment prevents an individual from being charged and/or tried for the same crime twice.  Therefore, if the charges were "dismissed" or found "not guilty" then the 5th amendment would, in fact, prevent you from being charged again for the identical crime.  The issue gets a little more complicated, based on the facts that you have provided, for at least two reasons.  First, is the second charge identical to the first charge?  It would have to be for double jeopardy to apply.  Second, it is possible that the charges were "thrown out" without being dismissed.  For example, some resolutions of criminal cases, such as nolle's, are often referred to as being thrown out, whereas technically they are not dismissed for the purposes of double jeopardy.  Therefore, it is important that you determine both the nature of the two charges and the technical resolution of the first charge.


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