What Does Beyond a Reasonable Doubt Really Mean?

Legal

Most people know that a criminal conviction can only be obtained if it is proven the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable amount. If a person is arrested, however, they might start to wonder what exactly that means. It’s important for a person to understand the level of evidence needed for a conviction and what their lawyer can do to try to avoid this.

What Constitutes Reasonable?

Reasonable simply means what the average person might believe. It might be reasonable to believe a person could be innocent if there is nothing that shows they were actually at the place where the crime was committed at the time the crime was committed. There is no hard rule as to what constitutes reasonable, but it should be something the average person might believe if they were to look at the entire case as laid out in court. 

What Constitutes Doubt?

Doubt is just where there is a possibility the person did not commit the crime. This could come into play even if a person is guilty because there just isn’t sufficient evidence to prove it was them or, perhaps, to prove they intended to commit a crime. It could also come into play if there is a possibility someone else committed the crime. 

Who Determines Reasonable Doubt?

Reasonable doubt is determined by the jury. When the jury enters deliberations at the conclusion of the trial, they will consider the facts as presented by the prosecution and the defense. They will then determine if they are positive the person is guilty based on the evidence at hand or if there is a possibility that the person could be innocent.

If they believe there is sufficient evidence the accused committed the crime and no one else could have committed it, they can say they find the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If they do not believe there is sufficient evidence or believe someone else could have committed the crime, they can find the person not guilty. 

If you’ve been arrested, your lawyer will work hard to create a reasonable doubt you are guilty if your case goes to court. If you’d like to speak with a lawyer about this now or you’d like to learn more about what reasonable doubt might mean in your case, visit the website for a Tulsa Okla criminal lawyer now.