In criminal law, as a case is being adjudicated, there are rules that have been set to determine who the burden of proof falls under as well as the evidentiary standards that are required to prove guilt or innocence. The different parties in the case will often carry different loads when it comes to proving their case in front of a judge and jury.
In this article, we’ll briefly look at the 3 standards of evidence in a criminal case.
1 Beyond reasonable doubt
This is the highest standard of proof that will primarily fall on the prosecution team in a criminal case as they have to make an argument that based all the evidence that has been produced before the court, the only possible conclusion that can be drawn from it is that the accused person is guilty of the crime they are being charged with. For the defense team, this means that if they can give an alternative explanation then their client will likely get acquitted of the charges.
2 Probable cause
In a criminal case, probable cause is a standard of proof that falls on both the prosecution team and defense team, but it’s mostly the defense team that will benefit most from it. All they are usually required to do is provide an argument that can demonstrate that there is a possibility that the crime in which the accused person is being charged with may have actually been committed by someone else.
3 Credible evidence
In criminal cases sometimes the evidence being produced in court may not be enough to either acquit an accused person or convict them of the crime they are being charged with. Therefore both legal teams in the prosecution as well as defense teams will be allowed to make arguments that in as much as the evidence is not enough, it’s sufficient and reasonable enough to lead the judge and jury to find the defendant guilty or not guilty.
It’s always a good idea to be conversant with these standards as they are very handy when making any legal arguments in a criminal case.