Not Guilty

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Definition - What does Not Guilty mean?

Not guilty has two distinctions in legal proceedings. It can be a plea entered in court by a defendant wishing to deny the criminal charge brought against him/her or to provide a reasonable explanation for the crime they are accused of. Not guilty can also refer to the verdict delivered by a judge or jury when acquitting the defendant of the charge.

SureHire explains Not Guilty

Where not guilty is a plea entered by a defendant, the accused may change their plea after arraignment at any point during the court proceedings before final judgment has been handed down. Entering a plea of not guilty puts the burden of proof on the prosecution as the law states that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The alternative pleas to not guilty are guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, incompetent to stand trial, and no contest.

Where not guilty is a verdict, the judge or jury has concluded that the evidence presented does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is responsible for the crime. The verdict of not guilty protects a defendant from being tried again for the same crime.

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