Numerous federal laws help protect those accused of crimes from unfair persecution and prosecution. Among those rights is freedom from double jeopardy or repeated prosecution for the same event.
The thought process behind this concept is that those accused of a criminal offense should not face a second round of criminal charges for one specific alleged violation. This right often confuses people and may leave some people worried about how to best stand up for their rights.
When you are the victim of a violent crime, like an unprovoked assault, you may suffer extensive property damage and injuries that require financial compensation. You might have medical bills, lost wages or even reduced earning potential due to lingering symptoms from your injuries. Does filing a civil lawsuit against the person who hurt you constitute double jeopardy?
Double jeopardy rules do not apply to civil cases
The intention of double jeopardy protection is to prevent prosecutors from malicious behavior that keeps someone in court for years over one alleged infraction. However, your right to compensation as the victim of a crime does not infringe on someone’s right to be free of unfair prosecution.
You can potentially bring a civil lawsuit against someone who hurt you regardless of whether they won their case in criminal court or not. If they did not get convicted, you still have a chance to pursue justice because the standard for evidence is lower in the civil court. If the criminal courts did convict them, then that could make your civil claim easier to prove.
Learning about your rights as the victim of a crime will help you pursue justice.