wooden gavel concept

Civil proceedings are a matter of fault or no-fault, while criminal proceedings must determine whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty. With this, the judge and jury must view the defendant as innocent until proven otherwise. This means that criminal proceedings require more than the traditional standard of proof seen in civil proceedings. This is otherwise known as the concept of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Continue reading to learn what beyond a reasonable doubt means and how an experienced Morristown criminal defense lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help you use this to your advantage in your criminal proceedings.

What does beyond a reasonable doubt mean in my criminal proceedings?

First off, as the defendant in criminal proceedings, the prosecution will have to prove that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” More specifically, this means that they must submit a sufficient amount of evidence and make a strong enough argument that clearly shows that you are guilty of the crime(s) you have been accused of. With this, the judge and jury cannot have any hesitations when interpreting their evidence and arguments. If they do, then they are required to offer you a not-guilty verdict.

Simply put, it is only when the prosecution can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that you may be faced with criminal charges and convictions. This means that you must strategize a defense strategy that pokes holes in their evidence or argument.

What are other standards of proof in my criminal proceedings?

Further, there are additional standards of proof that the prosecution must meet in your criminal proceedings. Examples read as follows:

  • Probable cause: that is, the prosecution must prove that a law enforcement officer had more than just suspicion that you committed a crime before arresting you; searching you; serving you a warrant; or otherwise.
  • Reasonable belief and reasonable suspicion: that is, the prosecution must prove that a law enforcement officer took action because they had a reasonable presumption that you had or were planning to commit a crime.
  • Credible evidence: that is, the prosecution must prove that certain pieces of proof are worthy enough to be presented to the judge and jury in your criminal proceedings.

As you can see, you may have many opportunities to point out the prosecution’s shortcomings in fulfilling the aforementioned standards of proof. The bottom line is that you should not have to pay for the consequences of a crime that you did not commit. This is why you must take advantage of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, along with the other standards in place.

So, when it comes to your defense strategy, you need a skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyer by your side. This is why you must contact Graves Andrews, LLC today.