Double Jeopardy, in law, being subjected twice to prosecution or punishment for the same offense. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits this practice: “nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This clause is interpreted to cover all criminal prosecutions. There are certain situations in which being tried twice is not considered double jeopardy—for example, as the result of a mistrial. Under a 1969 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the states, as well as the federal government, must offer protection against double jeopardy.
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