The word jeopardy means the danger of conviction and punishment that an accused in a criminal action incurs when he is charged with a crime. The prohibition against double jeopardy is a sacred principle of criminal law. It was incorporated into the Fifth 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 or limb.”
The constitutions of nearly all the states contain similar provisions. Simply applied, the rule is that once a person is acquitted or has paid the penalty for his crime, he may not thereafter be arrested for the same crime. The rule has no application to civil proceedings, such as deportation, contempt of court, prosecutions for abandonment or failure to support children, proceedings under motor vehicle laws to revoke or suspend licenses, and other proceedings for forfeiture, penalties, and damages.
Jeopardy Means As Principal In Law
When a number of offenses grow out of the same criminal act or the act seems to be comprised of a sequence of criminal acts, it is a highly technical matter to determine whether the accused is being tried for several crimes or being tried for one several times; nevertheless, being put in double jeopardy is a violation of his constitutional rights.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court has in a limited number of cases held that dual prosecutions (in a federal court after an acquittal in a state court) do not offend the Fifth Amendment prohibition against double jeopardy. In those cases involving counterfeiting, harboring fugitive slaves, violations of prohibition laws, dynamiting of a communications facility in a labor dispute the court held that the federal government had a unique interest in the alleged crime, which in light of our dual sovereignty gave it the constitutional right of a dual prosecution.