The burden of proof is the standard that a party must show to prove a fact in court. In criminal cases, it refers to the defendant’s guilt and whether or not the prosecution can show it. At the end of the trial, after the prosecutor has shown evidence backing their claim, the jury or judge will decide whether or not the prosecution has proved its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
What the Prosecution Must Show
The job of the prosecutor is to produce every bit of evidence they have on every element of the charged crime. Take this for example: The prosecutor believes that you stole something and you have been charged with theft. However, they are unable to provide any evidence in the case. If they are not able to do so, the judge will acquit the defendant.
Before a prosecutor takes the case in front of the judge, they will almost always ensure that they have evidence of every aspect. The theory of proving something “beyond a reasonable doubt” is provided in the U.S. Constitution.
What a Defendant Can Do
If the prosecution has proved every element of the crime and shown that a defendant has most likely committed the crime, a defendant has the choice to show why they should not be convicted. Their reasons are known as “affirmative defenses” and include things like self-defense, necessity, and insanity. However, the defendant will have to show evidence backing up why they committed the crime.
In most of these cases, the defendant not only has to produce evidence, but also the burden of persuasion. These cases can become very complicated. If you have been charged with a crime but you believe that you had a valid defense in your case, talk to us today. We can help you through the difficult steps and help you get results in your case.