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    We’re in Your Corner
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    We’re in Your Corner

    What is the Burden of Proof in a Criminal Case

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    What is the Criminal Case Process in Florida?

    If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it is absolutely vital that you respect the severity of such a charge. Criminal charges can forever alter the course of your life, robbing you of future opportunities like employment, housing, and more. Among the very first things you should do after being charged with a crime is contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. When you eventually go to trial, your criminal defender will explain some of the complicated legalese related to your criminal trial. However, it is always good to know as much as you can before you reach that stage.

    The beginning of the criminal process in Florida starts with an arrest or a notice to appear in court. After the case starts with the arrest or notice, the accused will likely be required to make their first courtroom appearance within a week. Always remember to follow the arresting officer’s directions and attempt not to cause any further trouble. Your behavior at the time of your arrest and at the time of your first court hearing will go a long way in helping your case. (Not to mention that it is much safer for the accused to comply with an officer’s requests.) Please note, however, that complying with an officer’s demands does not mean providing them with information they are not entitled to. You have the right to remain silent.

    At your earliest opportunity, contact our law firm for legal representation in your criminal case.

    What is the ‘Burden of Proof?’

    The burden of proof is one of the most important legal concepts in both criminal and civil cases.

    The accused is always presumed innocent in a criminal case until proven guilty in a court of law. The accused does not need to prove their innocence. Rather, it is the prosecutor’s responsibility to prove their guilt.

    The burden of proof is the responsibility to prove that their claims about the defendant are true. It is thanks to this process that innocent people are not convicted for crimes they did not commit. (That said, the legal system is not perfect, and several people have been wrongfully convicted before. If this happens, there are legal options for overturning the court ruling.)

    Who Has the Burden of Proof?

    During a criminal case, the prosecutors represent the state, law enforcement, or local government, while the defendant is represented by a criminal defense lawyer.

    The burden of proof rests on the party that brings forth the lawsuit. In criminal cases, that means that the burden of proof usually rests with the prosecutors.

    Your criminal defense attorney will argue your case against the prosecution while attempting to prove your innocence. But again, the burden rests with the prosecutor to prove guilt.

    What Are the ‘Standards of Proof’ in Florida?

    In Florida criminal cases, there are several standards of proof (also known as burdens of proof) that must be satisfied to prove a case.

    The common standards of proof include the following:

    • Beyond a reasonable doubt.
    • The preponderance of the evidence.
    • Clear and convincing evidence.
    • Reasonable suspicion.
    • Probable cause.

    How Are Florida Jurors Instructed to View ‘Reasonable Doubt?’

    The defendant begins their case with the presumption of innocence. This presumption of innocence can only be overcome by the evidence presented in the case. Unless the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury should not convict them.

    It is up to the prosecution to prove each allegation made against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is not a mere doubt, imaginary, or forced doubt.
    A reasonable doubt may arise from the evidence or lack of evidence.

    If the jury finds that there is reasonable doubt, they must find the accused not guilty.

    What is Considered ‘Clear and Convincing Evidence?’ And ‘Preponderance of the Evidence?’

    The preponderance of evidence means that there is a high probability that the accused engaged in actions that could be confirmed by the allegations made against them. This may include violating parole.

    The prosecutor must show clear and convincing evidence that their version of this story is true and accurate. This evidence can still leave reasonable doubt but should help bolster the case against the accused.

    What is ‘Probable Cause?’

    Probable cause is often used by police officers to either issue a search warrant or place someone under arrest. It is not mere suspicion; it is probable reason to believe that a crime has recently been committed or soon will be.

    What is ‘Reasonable Suspicion?’

    Law enforcement officers must meet the reasonable suspicion standard of proof to detain an individual for an investigation or interrogation. This burden of proof requires detailed facts that suggest criminal activity has occurred.

    Schedule a Consultation with Our Law Firm Today

    If you’ve been accused of a crime in Florida, it is critical that you seek legal representation from a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer. Our law firm has years of experience representing clients in Hollywood, Florida, and we would be proud to lend our legal knowledge to assist in your case.

    To learn more about our legal services, we advise you to get in touch with our Law Offices as soon as possible. The sooner we have a chance to review your case, the better your chance of strong dependence here yet to schedule your initial consultation, please contact our offices at (954) 833-1454.

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