Most of our readers in the St. Louis area know that there are many constitutional rights at issue when it comes to an arrest and the prosecution of a criminal case. The right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to a fair trial – these are all examples of the constitutional rights of criminal suspects and defendants. When criminal cases go all the way to a trial, defendants are protected by perhaps the most important constitutional right of all: the high burden of the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.
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Many people have heard the term “beyond a reasonable doubt” before, perhaps on TV or in a movie. This is the standard that prosecutors must meet in order to secure a conviction at trial. Well, it can be a bit nebulous to define, but it is often said that this standard means that the prosecution must show that there is no other reasonable explanation for the evidence of guilt that the prosecutor has presented at trial.
The judge or jury must be convinced or certain of the defendant’s guilt in order to reach a conviction.
As our readers have probably guessed, there are many ways and many opportunities for defendants to attempt to prevent this high burden from being reached. Each case is different, with different facts and theories involved, but if the defense can plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of the judge or jury about the certainty of the defendant’s guilt, there may be a chance for “not guilty” verdict.
When you are facing a criminal charge, your freedom is on the line. Be sure to explore every opportunity and avenue that might lead to your case getting dismissed or to a finding of “not guilty” in your favor.