What is Burden of Proof in a Criminal Case?


In a criminal case, the prosecution will need to prove or disprove a disputed fact. This duty is termed the burden of proof. Generally, the prosecution will be proving that the defendant is guilty so that the jury will order a conviction. For a criminal case, the burden of proof requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that there isn’t any other logical explanation that can come about from the evidence and facts other than that the defendant in question is guilty of the crime. In order to successfully fulfill this burden of proof, the judge must not have doubts as to the guilt, or the doubts that they do have are unreasonable. If this holds true, the defendant will most likely be pronounced guilty. It is important to note that this is the highest standard of proof that has to be met due to the fact that it is a matter of innocent until proven guilty.

There are other standards; however, that are not as high. For example, proof by a preponderance of the evidence that is required in civil litigation requires showing proof through clear and convincing evidence. In cases with this burden of proof, it is only necessary to show that one side has more evidence than the other. This standard is not considered sufficient in criminal cases that involve proving that a defendant is guilty of a crime because that would be depriving the individual of their liberty. If you have questions about the obligation that the prosecution has to link you to the crime in question, contact Davis & Hoss, PC. An experienced criminal defense attorney from our firm can assist you in challenging the proof that the prosecution presents and cast doubt on their evidence and case as a whole.