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How Does the Burden of Proof Differ in Criminal and Civil Cases?

When accused of committing a crime in Nampa, a skilled law firm can protect your rights and provide you with strong criminal defense.

The burden of proof in criminal and civil cases is very different. Civil cases base proof on a preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower burden of proof than courts require in criminal cases. A preponderance of evidence means the attorney must convince the judge or jury that the plaintiff’s case is more likely true than not. In other words, the case presentation shows that guilt is more than 50 percent believable based on the evidence. In contrast, when proving guilt in a criminal case, the prosecution must prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury has a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not commit the crime, as stated in the charges, then the jury must render a not-guilty verdict. Defendants in criminal cases are presumed innocent until proven guilty. As an interesting note, many countries’ criminal justice systems do not operate on this premise. The United States built protections for the innocent into our justice system. For this reason, we have Constitutional rights, such as double jeopardy, where the defendant cannot be tried twice for the same crime. Also, in most criminal cases, the jury must vote unanimously to obtain a guilty verdict. Every criminal trial serves the purpose of preserving our Constitutional rights and no justice system in the world goes to the lengths that ours does in this endeavor.

If you stand accused of a crime, find out how Boise criminal defense attorneys can protect your rights.

Gulstrom Henson & Petrie, P.C. makes every case we handle our priority.

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