not guilty n1 : a plea by a criminal defendant who intends to contest the charges compare guilty , nolo contendere NOTE: Under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, if a defendant refuses to plead or if the defendant is a corporation that fails to appear the court must enter a plea of not guilty on the defendant's behalf.
2 : a verdict rendered by a jury acquitting a criminal defendant upon finding that the prosecution has not proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.