What Is the Difference Between Accused, Charged & Convicted?
Unless you already possess experience in such legal matters, there is probably some confusion when it comes to terms commonly associated with criminal accusations, such as “charged” and “convicted.”
So, what’s the difference? The explanations are below:
- Being accused of a crime simply means that one or more individuals have claimed that you committed a crime. However, this is not a formal accusation.
charged with a crime means that the government has officially accused you of committing
a crime. A person who has been charged with criminal activity is still
under the law.
- Being convicted of a crime means that the accused has either been proven or has pled guilty. Once an individual has been convicted, sentencing is next. A “sentence” is a formal judgment that entails the convicted individual’s punishment, such as jail time.
Fortunately, it is far easier to charge someone with a crime than it is to convict them. To charge a person, law enforcement must only have “probable cause” which is often no more than a hunch. To convict someone, however, the prosecution must show strong evidence proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (or the charged person, also known as the defendant, must plead guilty themselves).