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STATE v. HENDRICKS — NEW JERSEY MURDER TRIAL — "NOT GUILTY" VERDICT

Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Not Guilty Verdict vs. an Acquittal

They are used quite often and sometimes interchangeably, but what do they actually mean? Their definitions are important to know, especially when it comes to criminal defense cases.

The Two Are Synonymous

The reason the two terms are used interchangeably is because they are one and the same. A not guilty verdict constitutes an acquittal. This means if you, the defendant, were deemed not guilty by a jury or judge, then you are acquitted of your charges.

For instance, let us say you are facing drug charges, such as possession and intent to distribute. If the judge or jury believe the prosecution did not prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they may find you not guilty and you will receive an acquittal.

It is important to know that it is possible you are found not guilty of only some of your charges, meaning you would only receive an acquittal that is partial. Again, maybe the judge or jury found you guilty of possession but felt there was not enough to show you had the intent to distribute beyond a reasonable doubt.

You could be acquitted of the intent charge but not of the possession charge. One other way to receive an acquittal is if a trial judge and appeals courts feel there is insufficient evidence of guilt. Just keep in mind that the prosecution can sometimes appeal a court’s judgment of acquittal.

Criminal Trial Attorneys Help New Jersey Clients

Facing criminal charges in New Jersey is a tough battle. The state has strict laws and harsh penalties, even for first-time offenders. To be convicted could alter the course of your life for the worse. If you are facing criminal charges you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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