What is the Difference Between Being Charged and Being Convicted?

Changing attorneys.

What is the Difference Between Being Charged and Being Convicted of a Crime?

When it comes to the criminal justice system, it is important to understand the differences in case terminology.  It is not unusual for people to confuse being charged with a crime and being convicted of a crime. However, these two terms are not synonymous, cannot be used interchangeably, and in fact hold very different meanings.

Being Charged with a Crime

A person who has been charged with a crime has only been formally accused of committing that crime based on probable cause. This probable cause is provided by law enforcement or the prosecution and allows for a case to move forward in its proceedings. When someone is charged with a crime, they become a “defendant,” however they are not legally guilty of the crime for which they are charged. A charge may also be known as an “indictment.” Being charged with a crime does not automatically lead to being proven guilty of a crime.

Being Convicted of a Crime

A person who has been convicted of a crime has either pled guilty or been found guilty by a judge or jury. A defendant’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in order to be convicted. Convictions have lasting consequences for the offender, resulting in sentences of incarceration, probation, fines, and restitution, as well as becoming a part of the offender’s public criminal record.

While a conviction means your criminal case has actively ended, anyone who has a charge against them should reach out to the defense attorneys at Rideout Law Group. An aggressive defense can mean the difference between a harsh conviction and a charge that has been dismissed or pled down.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.




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