In the common law tradition, an acquittal formally certifies the innocence of the accused, as far as the criminal law is concerned. Under the rules of double jeopardy and autrefois acquit, an acquittal operates to bar the retrial of the accused for the same offense. The effect of an acquittal on criminal proceedings is the same whether it results from a jury verdict, or whether it results from the operation of some other rule that discharges the accused.
An acquittal, while conclusive as to the criminal law, does not necessarily bar private civil actions in tort or on some other grounds as a result of the facts alleged in the charge. O. J. Simpson could be held civilly liable for battery even after being tried and acquitted of murder.