Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Acquittal


Quick Summary of Acquittal

A judgment that a person is not guilty of the crime with which the person has been charged.

What is the dictionary definition of Acquittal?

Dictionary Definition

A decision by a judge or jury that a defendant in a criminal case is not guilty of a crime. An acquittal is not a finding of innocence; it is simply a conclusion that the prosecution has not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. The act of fulfilling the duties (of a given role, obligation etc.).
  2. A legal decision that someone is not guilty with which they have been charged, or the formal dismissal of a charge by some other legal process.
  3. Payment of a debt or other obligation; reparations, amends.
  4. The act of releasing someone from debt or other obligation; acquittance.
  5. Avoidance of danger; deliverance.

Full Definition of Acquittal

The legal and formal certification of the innocence of a person who has been charged with a crime.

To be acquitted of a crime is to be deemed to be innocent of the charges after a court hearing. This is different from a Discharge, where the case is never heard. In general, a defendant who is acquitted can not be tried again for the same offence. If more than one defendant is on trial for the same offence (see: Accomplice), the acquittal of one of them is not admissible as evidence in favour of the others. A conviction, however, is admissible against the other defendants. This is because an acquittal is not `proof’ of innocence, it is merely an indication that the prosecution did not establish a case strong enough for a conviction. In other words, `innocent until proven guilty’ does not mean that `all are innocent until all are proven guilty’.

Acquittals in fact take place when a jury finds a verdict of not guilty. Acquittals in law take place by operation of law such as when a person has been charged as an accessory to the crime of robbery and the principal has been acquitted.

Examples of Acquittal in a sentence

The judgment that a criminal defendant has not been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, a verdict of “not guilty.”

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Acquittal. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
January 17, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Acquittal. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: January 17, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Acquittal. Retrieved January 17, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Acquittal are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 9th October, 2021 | 25 Views.