Not Guilty Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Not Guilty, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Not Guilty?

n.1) Request made by the accused during a trial that he is innocent and has not commited the crime for which he is accused and has to give a satisfactory explanation supporting the statement made by him. 2) It is decision given by the judge at the end of a trial that the prosecutor was not able to provide sufficient evidence to prove the accused guilty or that the accused was not of sound mind when he commited the crime and should be released and cannot be charged for the same crime again.

History and Meaning of Not Guilty

"Not Guilty" is a legal term used to declare that an accused person did not commit the crime in question. It is a plea made by the defendant during a trial, who asserts that they are innocent and has not committed the offense with which they have been charged. The judge could also pronounce a "not guilty" verdict if the prosecution is unable to provide sufficient evidence to establish the accused's guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Examples of Not Guilty

  1. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge of robbery.
  2. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty in the murder trial.
  3. The prosecution failed to prove the case, and the judge pronounced the defendant not guilty.
  4. Despite the evidence against him, the defendant was found not guilty of the crime.

Legal Terms Similar to Not Guilty

  1. Acquittal: A formal pronouncement made in court that leads to the discharge of the accused. Acquittal occurs when the judge or the jury finds the defendant not guilty of the charge.
  2. Innocent: A person is considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
  3. Nolo contendere: It is a plea made by the defendant, where they neither admit nor deny the charges, but agree to be punished.