What is “burden of proof” and how does it play a role in the
outcome of a
criminal case? This is the legal basis by which all criminal cases must abide. State
prosecutors have the responsibility of using all of the evidence to prove
“beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant is guilty of
committing the crime of which they were accused.
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
During the course of the trial, prosecutors must prove these two elements:
- The defendant acted with criminal intent
- The defendant knowingly or purposefully committed a criminal act
At minimum, there must be reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed.
That is the first step; otherwise, legally, a police officer cannot detain
someone. Finally, there must be probable cause, which means that the evidence
must be compelling enough to support an officer’s decision to arrest
someone. As the trial goes underway, a defendant is presumed to be innocent
until the evidence proves his or her culpability.
What Are Defenses to Burden of Proof?
Each side, both prosecutors and defense, has a chance to argue on a piece
of evidence or witness testimony. If the defense raises any doubts about
the evidence, the prosecutors must have the responsibility to either respond
or disprove the statements.
One form of defense that may be useful in such a case is affirmative evidence,
where a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney presents an argument that
something unlawful has occurred. One example would be if the evidence
was discovered unlawfully, such as in an illegal search and seizure. Another
would be if there was misconduct on the part of the prosecutors in the
If you have any questions about this or would like to discuss a criminal
case with the Law Offices of David Sloane, please do not hesitate to schedule a
free, confidential case consultation.