get off scot-free

get off scot-free

To escape punishment for a crime or wrongdoing; to be acquitted of charges for a crime. Mark's wealthy senator uncle influenced the jury, and he ended up getting off scot-free. My younger sister caused endless trouble as a child, but because she was the baby of the house, she usually got off scot-free.
See also: get, off

get off/go ˌscot-ˈfree

(informal) escape from a situation without receiving the punishment you deserve: It seemed so unfair that she was punished while the others got off scot-free!This idiom comes from the old English word sceot, meaning a ‘tax’. People were scot-free if they didn’t have to pay the tax.
See also: get, off
References in periodicals archive ?
Say it in the courtroom and you will get off scot-free, according to High Court ruling.
A federal court jury will decide the fate of Dowie and Stodder, but whatever the verdict, the real culprits - city officials who benefited from their ``free'' advice, and actively helped, or deliberately turned a blind eye to, what was going on - should not get off scot-free.
William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, added, "If the United States permits the architects of torture policy to get off scot-free, then other nations will be compelled" to take action.
As in any professional endeavor, there are downsides to being an antifraud expert: Cutler is disappointed that many corporations still don't want to admit they have fraud problems, Lindquist tires of constant travel and Golden feels frustration when fraudsters get off scot-free.
But while O'Neill might be delighted with Soderberg's decision, the Irishman does not get off scot-free as Johan Mjallby will play.
And there should be some mechanism so that the improverished criminal who comes into money later doesn't get off scot-free.
Labour's transport spokeswoman Roisin Shortall said: "It took three years for the number of offences covered to move beyond three, while the system has been dogged by legal challenges and loopholes allowing offending motorists to get off scot-free.
While some parents undoubtedly use Head Start as an opportunity to watch more television, few get off scot-free.
And with that act of sacrifice, the city and county officials responsible for his misdeeds get off scot-free.
The politicians who were supposed to oversee and direct him will get off scot-free, and they intend to restructure the EIDC by appointing its directors instead of serving on it themselves.
But while their ethnic profile may help with the cops, Jean and Anne hardly get off scot-free.
Cooley seems bound and determined to let the individuals in the school district and private sector who were responsible for the Belmont fiasco get off scot-free in one of the biggest taxpayer rip-offs in Los Angeles history.
California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, which monitors the industry, has found that even when fines are imposed, most nursing homes get off scot-free since they don't commit the same violation twice in one year.