Going on trial for a criminal offense, be it a state or federal charge, is a daunting experience. Our system of justice is capable of handing out very serious penalties, including long periods of incarceration. However, it is important to remember that when you are on trial, jurors are given explicit instructions that are intended to help ensure that the verdict they render is fair.
One of the most important legal concepts that can affect the outcome of a trial is that of the burden of proof. Simply put, it is the responsibility of a prosecutor to provide evidence that is substantial enough to give a jury reason to find a defendant guilty.
But what constitutes reasonable doubt? Well, that depends. In state trials, judges will usually tell jurors to ask themselves if they would be uncomfortable convicting a defendant based on the evidence presented by the prosecution. As for federal cases, jurors are instructed that evidence should be of such quality that a reasonable person would have no qualms about acting upon it in regard to their own most significant affairs.
You have a constitutional guarantee that the burden of proof in your trial resides with the prosecutor. But when fighting a criminal charge, it's also important to have an experienced criminal attorney who can help guide the jury to conclude that the prosecution's evidence against you is lacking. This involves having the ability to effectively cast doubt on the strength and truthfulness of the evidence in court. A savvy attorney can demonstrate the weaknesses of a prosecutor's case, which could lead to a jury rendering a decision of not guilty