Every crime in California is defined by a specific code section. Our attorneys explain the law, penalties and best defense strategies for every major crime in California.
The term “burden of proof” refers to the quantum of evidence that a party must present or establish in order to make or substantiate its case in court. The burden of proof differs based on the type of case and nature of the proceeding.
The 7 most common standards of proof used in the U.S. legal system include:
A “burden of proof” generally refers to a party’s responsibility or duty to prove a disputed:
Many jurisdictions say that a burden of proof includes both a burden of production and a burden of persuasion.
A burden of production refers to a party’s onerous to present credible evidence to a judge or jury.
A burden of persuasion refers to a party’s task to convince a judge or jury in accordance with whatever standard of care applies to a legal case.
Note that different burdens of proof will apply to different types of legal cases and proceedings.
The “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard is the legal standard used in criminal cases and criminal trials. A prosecutor must prove all of the elements of a crime, beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to show a criminal defendant’s guilt.1
To meet the burden, most states say a prosecutor must present evidence that is so convincing of guilt that there is no question in the minds of the jurors that the defendant committed the crime charged.2
The criminal laws of some states also say that a defendant is only proven guilty once a prosecutor can show, to a moral certainty, that the defendant committed a crime.3
The beyond a reasonable doubt standard is the highest standard of proof in the U.S. legal system.
Note that there is a presumption of innocence in the U.S. criminal court system. This means that you are presumed innocent of a crime until a prosecutor meets the beyond a reasonable doubt standard.
The “preponderance of the evidence standard” is the standard of proof in many civil cases and civil lawsuits (including personal injury cases).
A preponderance of evidence means that a plaintiff has to show that it is more likely than not that a fact is true.4
Most jurisdictions say that “more likely than not” means that it is more than 50 percent likely that a fact is true.
The beyond a reasonable doubt standard is a higher standard of proof than the preponderance of the evidence standard.
This burden of proof rests with plaintiffs in civil cases involving:
Plaintiffs will satisfy this burden by presenting enough evidence that shows that it is highly probable that a fact is true.
In other words, a trier of fact (or a judge or jury) must be able to use the evidence presented to determine that it is highly and substantially more likely that a particular fact is true rather than untrue.6
Clear and convincing proof is a higher standard of proof when compared to the preponderance of the evidence standard.
Probable cause is a standard of proof that police officers must usually meet before they can:
Law enforcement typically meet this burden if they can show that a reasonable person could believe that:
Probable cause is a requirement found in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Most states say that police officers must have reasonable suspicion before they can lawfully stop and detain a criminal suspect (also sometimes called a “Terry Stop” or a “stop and frisk pat-down”).
Reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause.
According to Burbank criminal defense attorney Neil Shouse:
“’Reasonable suspicion’ means something more than an individual police officer’s ‘gut feeling’ or ‘hunch.’ In order to justify a Terry stop or stop-and-frisk, a police officer must be able to point to specific, objective, articulable, and common-sense facts that made his or her suspicion reasonable.”8
This standard is often used in resolving administrative law issues at administrative hearings. During an administrative hearing, a judge reviews the decision made by a government agency (for example, the Department of Motor Vehicles).
Substantial evidence is a standard that requires a party to show such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind could accept the evidence as adequate to support a conclusion.9
The standard requires more than a mere scintilla, or tiny bit, of evidence.10
The abuse of discretion standard is used on appeals, or when an appellate court reviews a lower court’s decision. The standard applies in the appeal of both criminal and civil cases.
An appellate court will overturn a lower court’s decision if it finds that the lower court abused its discretion.
Appellate courts make this finding if a lower court failed to exercise a sound, reasonable, and legal discretion.11
An abuse of discretion does not imply intentional wrong, bad faith, or misconduct. It rather refers to a court making a clear error in rendering a conclusion or judgment.12
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
People arrested by CHP are taken to local county jails, city jails, police department jails or holding facilities. Aside from the CHP Lockup facility in Sacramento, the CHP does not operate its own system of jails. If arrestees are not released on bail or their own recognizance, they are held in these facilities until their arraignment. They can ...
Being arrested is always a scary experience. You will likely be confused, and not sure when you should call a Nevada criminal lawyer, or what your rights are. If you are arrested, keep in mind the following: 1. What Is An Arrest? An arrest means that you are not free to leave. This is not ...
California has both criminal and civil invasion of privacy laws. The civil laws include “false light” claims and cases involving the public disclosure of private facts. The laws are similar in that a person performs an act that invades the privacy of another. While the specific acts in criminal and civil cases differ – in ...
It is illegal to record a confidential conversation, including private conversations or telephone calls, without consent in California. A violation of this rule is the crime of eavesdropping, per Penal Code 632 PC. Note that while PC 632 makes it a crime to record a private conversation, a party can legally record a communication made ...