Acquit Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Acquit, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Acquit?

v. in criminal law, to acquit is to give a verdict of not guilty; opposite of convict.

History and Meaning of Acquit

Acquit is a term used in criminal law to refer to the act of declaring an individual not guilty. When a person is acquitted, they are legally cleared of any charges brought against them. The concept of acquittal has been present in legal systems around the world for centuries, going back to the Roman Empire. In common law-based legal systems, such as the US and UK, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution fails to meet this burden, the defendant must be acquitted.

Examples of Acquit

  1. The jury deliberated for hours before finally acquitting the defendant of all charges.
  2. The judge had no choice but to acquit the suspect due to lack of evidence.
  3. The high-profile case attracted national attention when the celebrity was acquitted of all charges.
  4. The defense attorney gave a passionate closing argument that ultimately helped to acquit his client.
  5. The possibility of acquittal gave the defendant hope that justice would prevail.

Legal Terms Similar to Acquit

  1. Convict: the legal term used when a defendant is found guilty of a crime.
  2. Plea bargain: an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to lesser charges or to cooperate with the prosecution in exchange for a reduced sentence.
  3. Mistrial: a trial that is terminated and declared invalid, usually due to a serious procedural error or misconduct that could prejudice a fair outcome.