Double Jeopardy in Colorado Criminal Law

By October 5, 2020Bail Bonds
Chalk drawn courthouse symbols and close handcuffed hands in suit

After the defendant was released from jail due to the Denver bail bonds service, he can now continue living his life under the Court’s direction, and the 24/7 bail bond agent’s terms and conditions.

However, being in a trial proceeding for a criminal charge can be an exhausting process for the defendant. What’s more is if the complainant will be able to retry your case even after the Court’s decision. That’s where the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment comes in.

Double Jeopardy Basics

Jeopardy in law means a risk of being charged with or convicted of a particular crime. Hence, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S Constitution guarantees that no one can be put on trial twice in the same Jeopardy for the same offense. Double Jeopardy is complicated, just like in any criminal law concept. Each State has different approaches and principles with their double jeopardy law. Consult a criminal lawyer or 24/7 bail bond agent near you to ensure that the case you are facing is aligned to the Criminal laws in your State.

Double Jeopardy in Early History

The idea of double Jeopardy is one of the oldest concepts in Western Civilization. Demosthenes, an Athenian Statesman, in 355 B.C said “[the] law forbids the same man to be tried twice on the same issue.” In 533 A.D, this principle was codified by the Romans in the Digest of Justinian. The Double Jeopardy’s concept continues through canon law during the Dark ages in 400 to 1600 A.D. It was also embraced in England and got included in their doctrine. However, the protection of double Jeopardy was extremely limited at that time.

Double Jeopardy in Colorado

As the years went by, the Double Jeopardy was absorbed and revised in the United States. Although every State has its double Jeopardy application, the basic concept is the same – to protect the same person from re-prosecution. There are three situations where the principle of double Jeopardy can protect an accused person.

  • If the person is prosecuted for the same offense after an acquittal
  • If the person is charged for the same offense after a conviction
  • If the person faces more than one punishment for the same offense

In Colorado law, it follows the Double Jeopardy Clause, which comes from the Fifth Amendment of the U.S Constitution. The double jeopardy clause’s objective is to preserve the final verdict of the trial undertaking, limit the prosecution’s power, and protect the accused person from the potential financial and emotional turmoil due to repeated prosecutions.

Application of Double Jeopardy in Colorado

The double Jeopardy is only applied to criminal cases, the same offense, and the jeopardy attachment.

  • Criminal Cases. If you face civil or administrative charges, the prosecution can charge you with the same offense because Double Jeopardy applies only to criminal cases. For instance, if the defendant was convicted of a crime, he can still be prosecuted with a civil lawsuit for damages. Also, the DMV can either suspend or revoke the convicted person’s license for the same criminal action.
  • Same Offense. The double Jeopardy’s main objective is to inhibit multiple prosecutions of an individual for the same offense. Therefore, the prosecution cannot charge someone for an incident then file a charge for the same incident even with a different charge. The government also has to use a multitude of tests to determine whether the charge embodies the “same offense” through these various factors: litigation of corresponding facts, presentation of the actual evidence, prosecution of a person for the same conduct, the association of the alleged criminal acts with the transaction.
  • Jeopardy Attachment. Another critical factor for the double Jeopardy to occur is the “jeopardy attachment” done by the government. Without it, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S Constitution will not apply for the accused person. Typically, the Jeopardy attaches after the first witness testifies and when the Court swears in the jury.

Exceptions in Double Jeopardy

Although the Fifth Amendment protects an individual for the re-prosecution of the same offense, the government can still charge an accused person again; even if the case was terminated. There are some exceptions where as the double jeopardy clause does not apply.

  • Mistrial. If the case was dismissed due to a “hung jury” or a “mistrial,” the defendant can be retried on the same criminal offense since the defendant’s case ends due to technicality and not with the valid merits.
  • Sovereign. The protection of double Jeopardy also takes place only within the same sovereign state or government. An individual can be prosecuted with the same criminal act in two or more different sovereign states. Therefore, the Federal government can file a charge against the defendant, although the exact criminal offense had been convicted or acquitted in the State government.
  • Multiple Offenses. As mentioned earlier, the double jeopardy clause applies if the same offense has been retried. But the government can file a charge with multiple offenses for the same criminal act. The filing of these multiple charges is usually done all at once by the prosecution. But posting bail through a  bail bond agent near you is still possible.

Jeopardy Attachment and Termination

If It is stated earlier that the double jeopardy clause protects the convicted or acquitted person if the government successfully attached the “jeopardy” to the defendant’s case, then  the Double jeopardy clause won’t materialize. It is important to know that the simple filing of the criminal charge won’t automatically attach the Jeopardy in it. The court trial must get to a further stage for the Jeopardy to attach with the case.

Generally, the Jeopardy attaches once the Court swears in the jury, then it will now prohibit the prosecution from retrying the defendant for that same criminal case. However, the jeopardy attachment can also be terminated. The Jeopardy ceases when the judge finds the evidence insufficient and concludes the trial by acquittal without letting the jury decide. The hung jury can also cause the termination of the Jeopardy, allowing the prosecution to enter into a retrial.

Contact Red’s Anytime Bail Bonds to meet your bail bond requirements in Colorado. Call 303-623-2245 now!

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