In criminal law, to acquit a person means to clear that person of criminal charges for a criminal offence. This may occur after the court has found that a person is not guilty of a crime, or after the court or prosecution determine that the case should not continue after the trial has commenced.

A court may acquit a person for not being guilty of a crime as a matter of fact or law. Under criminal law, the standard of proof is beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, if a judge or jury does not find that the elements of a crime are established beyond reasonable doubt, it must acquit that person.

Traditionally in common law, to acquit a person is to formally certify the innocence of that person. The rules of double jeopardy and autrefois acquit would then operate to bar the retrial of the accused for the same offence. However, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 has made it possible in certain very serious cases for a retrial to take place despite an earlier acquittal if there is new and compelling evidence.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 also introduced a right of appeal for the prosecution against decisions to order an acquittal before the jury has been asked to consider the evidence.

Additionally, the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 permits a ‘tainted acquittal’ to be set aside. A tainted acquittal is one in which it is proved beyond reasonable doubt that an acquittal has been obtained by interference with a witness or juror, by way of violence or threats of violence to a witness or juror/s.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on acquittal, Caven can put you in touch with local specialist criminal solicitors free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local specialist criminal solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

08001 221 2299
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Brands we work with
Guardian Unlimited logo
Guardian Unlimited logoThis is logo

We use cookies on the Caven site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.