Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

What does Beyond a Reasonable Doubt mean?

Beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest burden of proof which must be proven by the prosecution to convict an alleged criminal. Under U.S. law, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This burden of proof defers from the civil burden of proof which is through a preponderance of evidence. Criminal defense attorneys are hired to disprove the prosecution's case against their client and create doubt in the mind of the judge or jury about the validity of the state's evidence.

The state's standard of proof in criminal cases is higher than civil cases because the accused may be incarcerated, sometimes for life. The U.S. has decided it is necessary to find them guilty with moral certainty, which means the evidence is so conclusive that all reasonable doubts are removed from the mind of the ordinary person.

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