Burden of Proof

Burden of Proof & The Criminal Attorney’s Role

After the prosecution has made a determination as to how to charge a defendant, your criminal defense attorney is aware that the prosecution must prove that the defined crime occurred and the defendent committed it. A criminal trial represents the “fact finding” stage of criminal proceedings. Most trials involve a dispute of the factual issues surrounding the alleged crime.

In a typical trial the prosecutor presents evidence that the defendant committed the crime; evidence that the defendant may contest by and through his or her criminal attorney. In turn, the defendant may present additional evidence that establishes a defense; evidence that the prosecution may contest. At the conclusion of the presentation of evidence, the jury (or sometimes a judge) will determine whose presentation of facts is legally persuasive. In jury trials, the jury decides the facts while the judge determines the law.

In bench trials alone the judge determines both fact and law.

Criminal Attorneys & The Burden of Proof

When the presentation of evidence is concluded the judge instructs the jury:

(1) whether the prosecution or the defendant, through their criminal defense attorney has the burden of proof on each legal issue raised,

(2) the amount of evidence required to meet the burden, and

(3) the verdict to be returned when the burden is not met. The jury uses the judge’s instructions to weigh the evidence and to resolve the factual claims and legal issues raised by the parties in that particular criminal case.

If you have questions about the criminal prosecutors obligation pertaining to a criminal arrest, contact William Moore Criminal Defense for more information.