New Evidence in Famous Case, Double Jeopardy, and DWIs

News reports are swirling throughout the country about a famous professional ex-football player and a knife that was discovered at his demolished property years ago. In the 1990s, the entire country was held captive by the murder of the man’s wife, the following investigation, and trial. He was eventually acquitted by a jury and a murder weapon was never recovered.

Now it is being reported that in the aftermath of that trial, when the man’s home was being demolished, a construction worker found a knife buried on the property. At the time, the man gave it to an off-duty police officer who kept it for over a decade in his garage. Now the police officer has come forward with the knife and the police are investigating it anew to see if it is evidence in the case.

Re-Opening a Case

With the introduction of this new evidence, there are a lot of questions that are being asked. Some about this case in particular, but others about the criminal process and what the introduction of this potential new evidence means procedurally. To start, the man already stood trial for the crimes of murdering his ex-wife and boyfriend, and he was acquitted by a jury.

An acquittal is the best case scenario for any defendant in a criminal defense case. There are other situations where a trial can end without a guilty verdict, but an acquittal really protects a defendant’s future. Once a defendant has a trial and a jury or judge declares them not-guilty, they can never be held for trial again on those charges. And that is what has happened here. The ex-football player had a trial and was declared not guilty, so even if the knife is proved to be the murder weapon in this case, he will never be charged with the murder again.

The same would be true in a trial for DWI. Imagine for example if you were arrested and charged with DWI, you went to trial and a jury declared you not guilty. But a year later a bystander comes forward with video footage of you drinking alcohol prior to getting in a car and driving. Even in this scenario you would not be retried for DWI, and there would be nothing the police or prosecutor could do. This is known as double jeopardy, meaning that a person will not be in jeopardy of a conviction for the same charge more than once.

There are times, however, when a case can be tried more than once. If a jury comes back without making a decision, this is known as a hung jury and the case can be tried again. It can also happen that a prosecutor or defense attorney does something so outrageous that the judge calls a mistrial. Depending on the ruling of the judge, a person can be retried in that situation as well.

Defending DWIs in the Dallas Area

At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm we work with those accused of DWI to ensure they get the best defense possible for their case. We will represent you at every stage of a DWI prosecution, from the investigation, to plea negotiations, to trial. You can rest assured that you will benefit from our vast knowledge and experience in defending DWI cases. If you are charged with DWI, contact us so we can go over your case with you.