Difference Between Acquittal & Not Guilty

Acquittal vs Not Guilty

Contrary to popular belief, ‘Acquittal’ and ‘Not Guilty’ are not the same thing, although they are related and connected in certain situations. Understanding the precise meaning of these terms can help identify the subtle differences between them.

Meaning of Acquittal

An Acquittal is defined as the act of releasing someone from specific charges brought against them. It is commonly used in reference to a person who receives a verdict of ‘not guilty’ for the crime they have been charged with. An Acquittal is considered a “judicial deliverance” from a crime based on a court’s verdict or decision. It signifies an absolute release or freedom from something and often follows a verdict of Not Guilty. An Acquittal is typically granted in cases where the prosecution is unsuccessful in proving its case, or there is insufficient evidence to convict the person or proceed to trial.

Meaning of Not Guilty

The term ‘Not Guilty’ refers to a decision made by a court concerning a person charged with the commission of a specific offense. It is the process that precedes the act of acquitting the defendant in a case. A defendant cannot be acquitted until the court returns a verdict of Not Guilty. The term ‘Not Guilty’ is defined as a plea or verdict in law, and a plea refers to a formal statement made by the defendant declaring that they are not guilty of the crime. It also constitutes the defendant’s denial of the charges filed by the prosecution. Not Guilty represents a verdict delivered by a jury or judge declaring that the defendant is not responsible for the crime.

Key Takeaways

  • An Acquittal refers to an act that follows or stems from a verdict of Not Guilty, while the term ‘Not Guilty’ refers to a declaration made by the court before granting acquittal.
  • Not Guilty also refers to a plea made by the defendant at the initial stage of a legal action, wherein the charges listed by the other party are denied.
  • A verdict of Not Guilty may not always result in an Acquittal, as the defendant may be found guilty of other offenses tried in the same trial.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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