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

Learn More about not guilty

Share not guilty

Comments on not guilty

What made you want to look up not guilty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a trusted follower

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!