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What is difference between "Acquittal" and "Not found guilty" in DV cases ?

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What is difference between "Acquittal" and "Not found guilty" in DV cases ? What are scenarios which lead to Acquittal rather than not guilty. How both affect the life of individual ?

If both are same thing - why they do not consider it as "case dismissed" Can only Jury do the acquittal or jude can also do that if there are not sufficient proof to prosecute ?

Attorney Answers 7

Posted

Acquittal and NG are just different words for the same thing. It means the evidence was presented and fell short. Case dismissed means someone (the prosecutor or the judge) decided that for whatever reason a case should not be prosecuted. Common reasons could be "in the interests of justice" or "insufficiency of the evidence." The key difference is that an acquittal or NG means that the government put the evidence on and still failed to meet their burden of proof. A dismissal just means there's no longer a case. It doesn't speak at all to the quality of the government's case against you.

I probably dismissed hundreds of cases in my career as a prosecutor. Many of those dismissals had nothing to do with whether a person was guilty or not. So as far as I'm concerned, an acquittal/NG is more desirable. It doesn't say a person is innocent, but it shows you fought the charges and won. As far as how they affect your life? In small ways. The arrest may still show up on background checks, but there won't be a record of conviction. Be prepared to give employers an explanation. "I was acquitted of the charges" sounds pretty powerful if you ask me.

Most people who get involved in the criminal justice system don't have to worry about the difference. For MOST people, this is like choosing between having a chocolate sundae and a cherry one. Your choices are both good, and anybody should be happy to end up with either.

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Asker

Posted

who gives Acquittal -- judge or jury members ?

Izaak David Schwaiger

Izaak David Schwaiger

Posted

If it's a jury trial, it come from the jury. If it's a bench trial (just a judge, no jury) then it comes from the judge.

Dan Eugene Chambers

Dan Eugene Chambers

Posted

Please see Mr. Schwaiger's response.

Posted

Acquitted and not guilty mean the same thing: that the state has not met its burden of proof. Neither is an indication of innocence. Practically speaking however acquitted or not guilty will be regarded by most people and employers as an exoneration of the charges.

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Posted

if Acquitted and not guilty mean the same thing , how is it different from "Case Dismissed" Can only Jury do the acquittal or jude can also do that if there are not sufficient proof?

Posted

To be "acquitted" means that there has been a finding that the government has not met its burden of proof, and a judgment of "not guilty" is entered into the record. This can happen by a stipulation, but that is rare, or it can happen by a judicial order after a motion by the defense. But most commonly, an "acquitta"l means a jury has returned a verdict of "not guilty".

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Posted

if Acquitted and not guilty mean the same thing , how is it different from "Case Dismissed" Can only Jury do the acquittal or jude can also do that if there are not sufficient proof?

Posted

Same thing.

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Posted

who gives Acquittal -- judge or jury members ?

Posted

There is no meaningful legal difference between the two charges.

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who gives Acquittal -- judge or jury members ?

Posted

An acquittal occurs when the jury (in a jury trial) or a judge (in a bench trial) finds a defendant not guilty. The jury or judge is supposed to find a defendant not guilty when government has not proved each and every element of the crime. Analogically speaking, not guilty is to acquittal as guilty is to conviction (leaving aside post conviction dismissals or appellate overturning of convictions, etc for simplicity sake).

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Asker

Posted

Thanks Vijay for you comments. Domestic violence cases end up in jury trial or bench trial ? if jury trial , does defendant has option of choosing jury members ?

Vijay Dinakar

Vijay Dinakar

Posted

It almost always is a jury trial (the defendant has to waive or give up tjr right to a jury trial in order for there to be a bench trial). The defendant and DA pick the jury through a process called voir dire where potential jury members are asked questions by the judge defense counsel and DA to ensure a fair and impartial jury. If you have an attorney you should be asking him these questions, if not you should hire an attorney asap

Asker

Posted

Thank you Vijay

Vijay Dinakar

Vijay Dinakar

Posted

No problem

Posted

As others have indicated, they mean the same thing. A Judge can always dismiss a case pursuant to Penal Code 1385 in the interests of justice, but those types of dismissals are done in situations where it is deemed appropriate.

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