The Burden of Proof Is Not Your Burden


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The Burden of Proof Is Not Your Burden

If you are facing a criminal charge in Texas – or anywhere in the United States – it is essential to recognize that you face no personal burden of proof. This burden is solely on the government that levies the criminal charge against you. If you are facing criminal charges, however, this fact may offer very little comfort. A better understanding of how the burden of proof works in Texas criminal cases may help.

The Burden of Proof in Criminal Cases

If you face a criminal charge, the burden of proof the government must uphold is to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This, very generally – means that doubting your guilt is not reasonable, but there is no more-concrete definition of this standard, which renders it an ambiguous goal.

Less Burdensome Proof

One way to better understand the level of burden that beyond a reasonable doubt stands for is to consider lower legal levels of burden, including:

  • A police officer needs only a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed in order to detain you in the first place.

  • In order for a police officer to arrest you, however, he or she needs probable cause for doing so.

  • After probable cause comes a preponderance of the evidence, which means the majority of the evidence, this is used in civil cases that involve monetary disputes (rather than criminal charges).

  • The second-highest burden of proof (after proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt) is the standard of clear and convincing evidence. This is the burden of proof that is used in family law for cases in which the government seeks to remove a child from the home or to terminate parental rights, which are obviously very serious legal moves.

While the increase in the degree of the government's burden of proof in each of these is clear, it does not shine much light on exactly what it means to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Your Case

If you are facing criminal charges, it is crucial to recognize that the court must prove your guilt (beyond a reasonable doubt) and not the other way around. You are not responsible for proving your innocence (to any degree) – although, if you are able to do so, you are well-advised to do just that. Ultimately, the best course of action is to work closely and carefully with a seasoned criminal defense attorney who is very familiar with the court bringing the charge against you and is very experienced at successfully handling cases like yours.

Do Not Wait to Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, you owe it to yourself and to your case to enlist the esteemed legal services of Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas. Mr. Pritchard has the experience, determination, and legal insight to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.

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