The United States Constitution’s Fifth Amendment sets specific protections for people who are facing criminal charges in this country. One of these protects them against double jeopardy, which means being tried for the same crime more than once.
Many people don’t realize that there are some circumstances in which double jeopardy protections don’t apply. These have to do with cases that involve more than one jurisdiction. When that happens, you may face charges for one crime in more than one place. The double jeopardy protection only applies in a single jurisdiction.
Why can you face charges for one crime in more than one jurisdiction?
The double jeopardy protections are meant to stop people from facing charges because a prosecutor wants the guilty verdict. It doesn’t protect a person from facing criminal charges in two different jurisdictions if one crime spanned both jurisdictions.
For example, if a person manufactures drugs in California and sells them in Nevada, they could face charges stemming from the drug activity in both states. In many cases, one jurisdiction will step back and let the other one handle the case, but this doesn’t always happen.
What happens if there’s more than one conviction?
If more than one jurisdiction convicts the person of the same crime, a determination has to be made about the sentences. The second court to convict you will have to decide if the sentence will run consecutively or concurrently with the first sentence. Consecutively means the second jurisdiction’s sentence doesn’t start until the first jurisdiction’s sentence is over. Concurrently means they will run at the same time.
It’s best to learn all your options if you’re facing criminal charges, especially if there are multiple cases open for one crime. Working with someone who’s familiar with this type of situation can help you to evaluate your options and choose the one you feel is in your best interests.