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What is double jeopardy avoidance?

As many people in South Carolina know, criminal charges can drastically affect all areas of your life, even before you can get to your trial. Some people will make decisions ahead of time as to whether they believe you are guilty or not. You may be suspended from your job and the emotional strains and stresses of the investigative process can take their toll on you and your loved ones.

Often, federal crimes can carry harsher sentences than those handled on the state level. However, any conviction will leave a mark on your record that can have a significant negative impact on your future. Depending on the nature of the offense, its perceived severity and the existence of any prior convictions, your penalties could range from community service to fines, loss of professional licenses and even time in prison.

Something not everyone realizes, however, is that in certain cases you could be tried on both the state and federal level. This is sometimes termed double jeopardy avoidance as it is a counterpoint to the laws that normally prevent someone from being tried twice for the same crime. As this article on criminal defense explains, this can result in highly elevated penalties for a single crime.

This is an alarming prospect and while it may be possible to challenge such a strategy, success is not guaranteed. As such, some people faced with this situation are persuaded to enter into a plea deal. However, every case is different and it can be hard to decide what the best course of action to take might be. An attorney may be able to advise you and to offer support and guidance during and in preparation for your trial.


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