not guilty

noun

Legal Definition of not guilty

1 : a plea by a criminal defendant who intends to contest the charges — compare guilty, nolo contendere

Note: Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, if a defendant refuses to plead or if the defendant is a corporation that fails to appear the court must enter a plea of not guilty on the defendant's behalf.

2 : a verdict rendered by a jury acquitting a criminal defendant upon finding that the prosecution has not proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt

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