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Legal Terms: Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

What is “beyond a reasonable doubt?”

As we continue through our basics of the Florida criminal justice system, it is important; we discuss arguably the most important aspect of the criminal justice system, the standard or the burden.

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the standard of proof the prosecution must prove during a criminal trial. Ultimately, it is the highest burden in the American court system. Many times, it is illustrated as being 99%. Other attorneys provide examples such as if you had a reasonable doubt regarding an airplane being able to safely get to its destination, you would not board it. If there is a legally valid question that a defendant may not have committed a crime, then the prosecution has not proved that the defendant should be found guilty. The defendant has no burden to prove anything, only the prosecution does. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is not the same as “beyond all doubt.” This standard is used only in criminal trials, while civil trials use “by a preponderance of the evidence.” American courts have reasoned that since an individual’s literal freedom is on the line, the highest judicial standard should apply. The Valrico criminal attorneys of Hackworth Law have had great success in holding the State Attorney’s Office to their burden and forcing them to prove their case beyond and to the exclusion of every reasonable doubt.

Reasonable doubt can come from three (3) different places, the evidence itself, conflicts in the evidence and/or a lack of evidence. The Judge in a Florida criminal trial will always remind the jury of this during their final jury instructions prior to giving the case to the jury.

If you or someone you know has questions concerning a Florida criminal case or they are looking for a Tampa criminal attorney, contact the criminal defense attorneys of Blumenuaer Hackworth for a free case consultation today. We look forward to working with you.  

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