What Is the Burden of Proof?

What Is the Burden of Proof?

Bearing the Burden

The U.S. judicial system relies on strict procedures to ensure justness and fairness. There are legal standards that must be met before a judgment can be made. These standards are particularly important to criminal defendants. Criminal defendants are presumed innocent until their guilt is proven. In criminal cases, you must present sufficient evidence to establish that a fact is true legally. Making an accusation is not in and of itself enough. Thus, the filing of criminal charges against a defendant does not establish the fact that he or she is guilty. It simply commences the criminal prosecution process wherein the prosecuting attorney will work to prove the defendant’s guilt by producing evidence. To do this, the prosecutor must provide convincing evidence to prove each allegation against the defendant. The burden of proof is the obligation one party has to establish a fact as true in a court of law. The prosecuting attorney bears the burden of proof when a criminal defendant is being prosecuted.

Meeting the Burden of Proof

The burden of proof must be met for the defendant to be convicted. The judge or jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt, but this does not mean no doubt whatsoever remains. This principle is the basis for beginning any defense against criminal charges. Weaknesses in the prosecutor’s argument can be leveraged to sway the judge or jury’s belief. By taking advantage of these weaknesses, a skilled criminal defense attorney can influence the case in the defendant’s favor. That is why it is so important to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney when you are facing criminal charges. The judicial system has its strengths and weaknesses. Because legal standards, such as the burden of proof, must be met for a defendant to be convicted, no case is hopeless from the start. The prosecutor has a job to do. And, just like many professionals, they can make mistakes. They can also face certain limitations that prevent them from doing their job, such as inadmissible or insufficient evidence. The job of the criminal defense attorney is to know the ins and outs of how the criminal prosecution process works and the legal standards that must be adhered to.

Producing Evidence

Meeting the burden of proof is a matter of producing convincing evidence to present to the judge and jury. Making a claim about the defendant’s guilt must be backed up. The evidence must be admissible (i.e. lawfully obtained and allowable according to the numerous complicated rules of evidence). Not all evidence is admissible, however, and unlawfully obtained evidence can be thrown out of your case. This means it cannot be held against you. Fighting criminal charges is often a matter of questioning and challenging the evidence against you. You will need the help of a good attorney to do this, but many defendants have been successful by challenging the evidence the prosecuting attorney produces.

Innocent to Start

Remember that the prosecuting attorney must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You are innocent until this is done. And just because there was enough evidence for the prosecuting attorney to file criminal charges against you doesn’t mean there is enough evidence to prove you are guilty. The criminal prosecution process is not failsafe. Only a certain percentage of arrests will result in criminal charges being filed. Likewise, only a certain percentage of criminal charges end in a conviction. Lack of evidence at any stage in the criminal prosecution process can result in charges being dropped or defendants being acquitted at trial. Speak with an attorney today if you are facing criminal charges. Don’t give up hope yet. An attorney can evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of your case and help you determine the wisest course of action. If the evidence the prosecuting attorney presents is questionable, an attorney may be able to challenge the admissibility of the evidence. In some cases, this can result in the entire case being dropped if the burden of proof cannot be met.

Have you recently been arrested? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his team for legal help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County.  Specializing in criminal defense, Mr. Martens can take immediate action in your case to defend your rights and your freedom. With over ten years experience in criminal defense, Attorney Martens has taken over 50 cases to trial and will not be afraid to do the same for you. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com for a free consultation.

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