Double Jeopardy Law and Legal Definition

Double jeopardy refers to a person being tried again for the same offense after being acquitted. Double jeopardy is prohibited by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: "…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence [sic] to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…".

The Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy Clause protects against three distinct abuses: [1] a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal; [2] a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction; and [3] multiple punishments for the same offense. However, if charges are brought by independently by state and federal governments, it has been found not to violate the Double Jeopardy Clause.