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In law, the prosecution of a person for an offense for which he or she already has been prosecuted. In U.S. law, double jeopardy is prohibited by the 5th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which states that no person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life and limb. The clause bars second prosecutions after acquittal or conviction and prohibits multiple convictions for the same offense. Thus a person cannot be guilty of both murder and manslaughter for the same homicide, nor can a person be retried for the same crime after the case has been resolved. A person can, however, be convicted of both murder and robbery if the murder arose from the robbery. The prohibition against double jeopardy is not violated when an individual is charged for behaviour stemming from an offense for which he has been charged in a different jurisdiction or in a different court (e.g., a civil court as opposed to a criminal court). See also rights of the accused; due process.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on double jeopardy, visit Britannica.com.