Many think “acquitted” and “not guilty” mean the same thing. However, there are some significant differences between what these words mean in the criminal justice system in Nevada.
You are acquitted if a jury finds you “not guilty” at a trial. Acquitted means the charges against you are dismissed, and you can walk free without punishment. When someone is forgiven, the trial ends, and the case is closed.
Pleading Not Guilty
When you plead “not guilty” to criminal charges, you tell the court that you deny the charges against you. You are saying you didn’t commit the crime you are accused of. Pleading not guilty does not automatically make the charges go away. It just means you want to fight the charges at a trial. The trial will still happen.
The main differences between acquitted and not guilty are:
- Acquitted is the result of a not guilty verdict at trial. Not guilty is just the plea before the trial starts.
- If you are acquitted, the trial ends, and you go free. If you plead not guilty, the trial is still coming up.
- Acquitted means the case is closed and charges dismissed. Not guilty alone does not dismiss the charges.
Let’s say Bob is charged with robbing a store.
If Bob pleads “not guilty,” he tells the court he didn’t rob the store. But there will still be a trial to decide whether he is guilty.
If the jury finds Bob “not guilty” at the end of the trial, then Bob is acquitted. He is free to go, and the charges are dropped forever.
So remember, “acquitted” and “not guilty” sound alike but mean very different things.
Acquitted means you win at trial and go free.
Not guilty means the trial is going to happen soon.
The most important thing to understand is that “acquitted” and “not guilty” are not just fancy words meaning the same thing.
If you face criminal charges in Nevada, pleading “not guilty” gets you a trial but does not dismiss the case.
To get the charges dropped and walk away free, you need to be found “not guilty” at the end of the trial.
Then you are acquitted. Being acquitted is the best outcome because you leave court without punishment and move on with your life.
So make sure you know what each of these terms means if you ever find yourself in trouble with the law in Nevada!
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to be acquitted of a crime in Nevada?
Being acquitted means a jury found you not guilty at trial, resulting in the charges being dismissed and your legal record cleared.
How is being acquitted different from pleading not guilty?
Pleading not guilty states you deny the charges against you and want to contest them at trial. Being acquitted results from being found not guilty at the end of a trial.
What happens if I plead not guilty to a crime in Nevada?
If you plead not guilty, your case will proceed to trial, where the prosecution must prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. Pleading not guilty does not dismiss the charges.
Can I be charged again for the same crime if I’m acquitted at trial?
No, being acquitted invokes the Double Jeopardy Clause. You cannot be charged again for a crime if a jury has found you not guilty at trial.
How common are acquittals in Nevada criminal trials?
Acquittals are relatively rare, as the prosecution typically only brings strong cases to trial. But skilled Nevada defense lawyers can and do win some cases.
What should I do if charged with a crime in Nevada?
Immediately retain an experienced Nevada criminal defense lawyer. They can advise if pleading not guilty and going to trial is your best option.
What happens if I’m found guilty at trial in Nevada?
If convicted at trial, the judge will sentence you to penalties that can include fines, probation, or jail time. Being found guilty gives you a criminal record.
Acquittal – When a jury finds a defendant not guilty at a criminal trial, which results in the charges being dismissed and the defendant walking free without conviction or punishment.
Beyond a reasonable doubt – The standard of proof required for a jury to convict a defendant of a crime. The prosecution must eliminate any reasonable doubt about guilt in the jury.
Criminal charges – Formal allegations by the state that someone has committed a crime, which initiates criminal proceedings. Common charges include theft, assault, DUI, fraud, etc.
Defendant – The person or party defending themselves in a civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution.
Double jeopardy – The legal principle prohibiting a person from being tried twice for the same crime. Acquittal invokes double jeopardy protections.
Not guilty – A formal plea by the defendant stating they deny the criminal charges against them. Pleading not guilty invokes the right to trial.
Prosecution – The lawyers initiating legal proceedings against the accused in a criminal case. Typically associated with the state or federal government.
Trial – A formal examination of evidence before a judge and jury to decide guilt or innocence in a criminal case or resolve a civil dispute.
Additional Resources for You
Our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum, Esq, has also created other resources to help you with your family law needs:
- Charged with Solicitation? We Can Help.: If you’ve been charged with solicitation, this resource provides information on how our team can assist you in navigating the legal process.
- Nevada Traffic Tickets: This guide helps you understand your rights and options when faced with traffic violations.
- Warrant Defense Attorneys: If there’s a warrant out for your arrest, our attorneys can provide the defense you need.
- Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer for Misdemeanor Charges?: This resource explains why it’s crucial to have legal representation, even for misdemeanor charges.
- The Nevada Arraignment – Frequently Asked Questions: If you’re facing an arraignment, this FAQ can help address your concerns and questions.
- The Definitive Guide to Sealing Criminal Records in Nevada: Learn about the process of sealing criminal records in Nevada with this comprehensive guide.
- Sex Crime Defense Attorneys: If you’re facing sex crime charges, our experienced attorneys can provide aggressive defense to protect your rights.
- Nevada Shoplifting Laws: Understand the severity and potential consequences of shoplifting charges in Nevada with this resource.
- Gang Crimes Lawyer: Facing charges related to gang crimes? Our legal team can provide the defense you need.
- Murder vs Homicide: This resource explains the key differences between murder and homicide charges.
- Extortion: If you’re facing extortion charges, our team can provide the defense and guidance you need.
Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful
Here are some additional resources that might be useful for understanding the concepts of being acquitted, pleading not guilty, and the criminal justice system in Nevada:
Legal Information Institute’s Article on Double Jeopardy: This article explains the concept of double jeopardy, which is invoked when a person is acquitted of a crime.
FindLaw’s Overview of Nevada Criminal Laws: This resource provides an overview of criminal laws in Nevada, which might be useful in understanding the context of being acquitted or pleading not guilty in Nevada.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Resources: This organization provides a wealth of resources about criminal defense law, which could be helpful in understanding the steps to take if you’re charged or put on trial.
A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney
Molly Rosenblum, Esq
Thank you for reading through these legal resources on the difference between a not-guilty plea and an acquittal in Nevada.
I hope you better understand how these crucial terms function in the criminal justice system.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, I encourage you to schedule a free initial consultation with my firm by calling (702) 433-2889.
My experienced team of Nevada defense attorneys is here to listen to the details of your unique case, advise you of your rights and options, and build the most robust possible defense on your behalf if you fight the charges.
Don’t go through this challenging time alone – we are here to be your ally and advocate.
Call today to learn how we can help you move forward and achieve the best possible outcome.
I look forward to speaking with you.