THE BURDEN OF PROOF IN CRIMINAL CASES VS CIVIL CASES
The burden of proof in a CRIMINAL CASE is proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is the highest or strongest burden of proof required in our court system.
The prosecution in a criminal case has the burden of establishing proof…… of such a convincing character that a reasonable person would not hesitate to rely upon it in the most important of his own affairs.
This essentially means that although a person may have committed a criminal act the state may not always be able to meet the burden and many persons who have actually committed a crime may go free or be allowed to plea to a much lesser offense.
It is extremely important to consult with an experienced criminal attorney before talking with or cooperating with law enforcement in potential criminal matters.
In CIVIL CASES or administrative hearings there is are different levels or burdens of proof required for the moving party (plaintiff) to prevail in the case. The most commonly used burdens of proof in civil proceedings are:
“Clear and convincing evidence” means that degree of proof which, considering all the evidence in the case, produces the firm and abiding belief that it is highly probable that the proposition on which the defendant has the burden of proof is true.
“Preponderance of the evidence” means whether, considering all the evidence in the case, the proposition on which the defendant has the burden of proof is more probably true than not true.
While cost is always a factor, particularly in serious legal matters it is best to consult with an experienced attorney who can evaluate and discuss options before attempting to represent yourself.