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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note

not guilty

not guilty by reason of insanity

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Cite this Entry

“Not guilty.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/not%20guilty. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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