When it comes to your criminal proceedings, you may feel as though you are up against many of these accusations. However, prosecutors must work tirelessly to prove that these accusations are founded on fact, thanks to the “beyond a reasonable doubt” statute. Follow along to find out the meaning behind this law and how one of the experienced New Jersey & Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyers at The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. can help you use it to your advantage.
What does beyond a reasonable doubt mean in criminal proceedings?
By definition, beyond a reasonable doubt means that the prosecution’s presented evidence and arguments against you, the defendant, must clearly establish your guilt; so much so that it would be accepted as fact by any reasonable individual. Essentially, the traditional standard of proof must be exceeded within a criminal court setting.
In other words, the judge and jury must walk into the courtroom under the assumption that you are innocent. And after hearing the prosecution’s case, they must be able to say with certainty that you are guilty. But, with the slightest discrepancy in the evidence or argument against you, the judge and jury may be obligated to return a non-guilty verdict. With this, you may not be charged or convicted of the crime at hand.
How can I use this law to my advantage?
As you may likely conclude yourself, it is rather difficult to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So you may most definitely use this to your advantage. That is, you may build a defense strategy that pokes holes in the prosecution’s evidence and arguments by claiming that there is reasonable doubt within it.
For one, you may claim that the presented evidence only supports general conclusions rather than the conclusion that you are guilty. For example, you may provide examples of alternate conclusions that can be drawn from the general evidence. Or, you may claim that the presented evidence is not reliable. For example, you may question eyewitness testimony given from an untrustworthy source.
In addition, you may file a motion to suppress evidence. Barring certain pieces of evidence from being presented in your criminal proceedings may make it all the more difficult for the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. With this, you may claim an unlawful search and seizure, an illegitimate chain of custody, an oversight of reading your Miranda Rights, or otherwise.
It is worth mentioning that beyond a reasonable doubt is one of the many concepts you may question in your defense. So, when it comes to your defense strategy, you need one of the talented New Jersey criminal defense lawyers by your side. This is why you must contact The Vigilante Law Firm, P.C. today.