Trial proceedings can be exhausting – emotionally, physically, and financially. And the agony will add up to the defendant if he is sitting in jail awaiting trial. While posting bail bonds in Colorado allows you to live a normal life outside the prison during your court trial, the U.S Constitution also protects any defendant to face the same trial with the same offense. Thus, saving you from further misery.
The U.S Constitution’s Fifth Amendment clearly states, “No person shall… be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” It is known as the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
Origin of Double Jeopardy
The concept of double Jeopardy was established way back 355 B.C in Athens, Greece. An Athenian Statesman named Demosthenes stated, “[the] law forbids the same man to be tried twice on the same issue.” In 533 A.D, the Romans started to codify this principle in the Digest of Justinian. Through canon law, the concept of double Jeopardy continues during the Dark Ages in 400 to 1600 A.D, which was later introduced in England. However, the double Jeopardy offered limited protection at the time.
What is Jeopardy Law in the legal definition?
Jeopardy means that a defendant is at risk or in danger of conviction of a crime. It will legally exist if the jury is sworn in or if the evidence is presented in the Court. Under Colorado law, the defendant can only face Jeopardy for the same offense only once and can post Colorado bail bonds.
Double Jeopardy protects people from these three scenarios:
- Second prosecution for a crime after acquittal
- Second prosecution for an offense after conviction
- Multiple punishments for the same offense
Also, the double jeopardy clause exists in order to:
- Set limitations on the prosecution’s power,
- Maintain and respect the final verdict of trial proceeding, and
- Keep the defendant away from the emotional and financial damage caused by the repeated prosecutions.
Application of Double Jeopardy in Colorado
Double Jeopardy can be applied only to these circumstances: same offense, criminal cases, and the jeopardy attachment.
- Same Offense. The double jeopardy law was created to prevent the accused person from facing multiple prosecutions for similar criminal conduct. It signifies that the prosecution does not have the legal opportunity to file a charge against the defendant for the same incident. Moreover, the government needs to determine if the charge embodies the aspects of “same offense” through several factors such as actual evidence presentation, corresponding facts litigation, a person’s prosecution for the same act, and the alleged criminal actions associated with the transaction.
- Criminal Cases. Double Jeopardy does not apply to civil or administrative charges, which means that an accused person may face civil or administrative and criminal charges simultaneously for the same alleged offense. Or, the prosecution can file a civil or administrative charge against the accused person even after the sentence of a criminal case. Additionally, DMV can suspend or revoke the defendant’s license, especially if the charge involves a controlled substance.
- Jeopardy Attachment. As mentioned earlier, the person is legally in Jeopardy after the jury has sworn in and presentation of the first witness. Without it, the defendant won’t be protected by the Fifth Amendment. It is best to call for legal advice from a defense lawyer and a Colorado bail bonds agent
Exceptions of Double Jeopardy in Colorado
There are some exceptions wherein the government can prosecute a person twice for the same offense. These situations are as follows:
- Mistrial. Once a case was dismissed due to a “hung jury” or “mistrial,” the prosecution can file a criminal lawsuit again with the same offense. Hung jury happens when the jurors cannot agree upon a verdict and cannot reach the required supermajority or unanimity even after extended deliberation. In such a case, the trial does not end with valid merits but rather due to technicality.
- Sovereign. An accused person can still be prosecuted for the same criminal conduct in two or more different sovereign states. Suppose a person has been acquitted or convicted for the same criminal conduct in a Federal government. In that case, the State government can prosecute the same person with the same offense and vice versa.
- Multiple Offenses. The double Jeopardy only applies to the “same offense.” Therefore, a person can be charged for multiple offenses for one criminal act. Typically, the prosecution files multiple charges for one crime all at once.
Attachment of Jeopardy in Colorado
A person could avoid re-prosecution if the government could attach the “jeopardy” to the defendant’s case for the first time the defendant had been prosecuted. Without this attachment, the double Jeopardy won’t materialize. Also, a simple filing of a criminal charge will not automatically attach the Jeopardy in it since the “jeopardy” can legally emerge to the case once the jury was sworn in or the evidence had been presented to the Court.
Termination of Jeopardy in Colorado
Even after the Jeopardy attaches to the case, its legality can still be terminated. It can happen at any point during a court proceeding in which a person is not considered to be in Jeopardy. In a trial by jury, the Jeopardy terminates when:
- A jury specifically finds the defendant not guilty.
- A jury inevitably acquits a person of a greater charge by voting not guilty of a lesser included charge and returning no verdict on the greater charge.
- A judge dismissed the criminal case due to insufficient evidence presented.
- In some cases of a mistrial, aside from a mistrial due to a hung jury.
- An appeals court reverses a sentence due to insufficient evidence.
The U.S government understands that no one wants to be put on trial twice for the same criminal act, especially if the original trial has been acquitted in favor of the defendant. And the Double Jeopardy clause legally protects someone from this occurrence.
If a person faces criminal charges and the offense is bailable, contact a Colorado bail bonds agent who will expedite your pre-trial release process. For Colorado bail bonds concerns, call Luceros’ Bail Bonds Colorado at 303-573-5555.