Burden of Proof

What does Burden of Proof mean?

The burden of proof is the level of proof needed for the plaintiff in a criminal or civil case to prove their assertion. Criminal cases which are brought by the state have a higher burden of proof than civil cases. For instance, to win a criminal case the state must prove the defendant has committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. A civil case, however, can be won through a preponderance of evidence or in the case of fraud through clear and convincing evidence.

In a civil case the level of proof defined as a preponderance of evidence is defined as proving to the jury that there is a more than a 50% probability that the defendant's negligence caused the plaintiff's injury. Because criminal cases can result in the incarceration of the defendant, criminal laws require the state to meet a higher level of proof to convict. In a criminal case the defendant does not have to prove anything (unless they are claiming insanity, duress or self-defense as their defense), and they are assumed innocent until proven guilty.

Previous Entry

Breach of Contract

Next Entry


Browse Legal Glossary Alphabetically:

1 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Z |

Term of the Day

Comparative Negligence

In a pure comparative negligence state the court will determine fault and pay each claimant to the degree of their fault.

Category: Injury Law