When you are involved in a criminal case in Maryland, one of the elements that will determine the outcome of the case is the burden of proof. In line with your constitutional rights, anyone who is charged with a crime is presumed innocent until they are found guilty in court. In order to get that guilty conviction, the side of the prosecution has to satisfy the burden of proof. What does that mean?
The Burden of Proof 101
The burden of proof is used in criminal law to describe the standard that is used to determine whether or not a criminal charge is appropriate. The prosecution must meet this standard beyond a reasonable doubt, otherwise, the criminal charges are not justified. The burden of proof is argued in front of a judge or judge and jury depending on the format of the trial.
What Does ‘Beyond a Reasonable Doubt’ Mean?
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ before, and it’s used to describe the burden of proof standard in a criminal case. Simply wondering if someone is guilty is not enough. The evidence that is provided by the prosecution needs to make it so that a reasonable person would see that the defendant is clearly guilty.
It is important to note that reasonable doubt does not require removing all doubt. There is no burden of ‘absolute certainty’ required. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to ensure that you are able to satisfy the needs of the court.
Is Burden of Proof the Only Standard of Proof?
Some people are so used to hearing about the burden of proof that they assume it is the only standard of proof. However, there are other standards that might be used throughout a criminal trial. Some of the other standards of proof that could be used include:
- Reasonable suspicion, which is used in cases where the judge is determining whether or not a law enforcement search that led to an arrest was performed lawfully
- Probably cause, which is a standard implemented in cases where law enforcement must have met a certain standard before getting a warrant, performing a search, or making an arrest
Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help With Your Criminal Law Case
If you are concerned about your criminal case and want to make sure that you are prepared for court, you need the right legal assistance. Our experienced legal team is looking forward to working with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.