The Reasonable Doubt Standard in Alabama

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One of the most important parts of any criminal trial is the standard of proof used to convict an individual of an offense. The phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt” refers to the amount of evidence that is required to justify a criminal conviction. Often times, individuals facing criminal charges in the state of Alabama rely upon the talent and expertise of a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to argue that the opposing counsel's evidence does not satisfy the reasonable doubt standard.

How Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Is Defined

In many cases, it is very difficult to define the standard of reasonable doubt because there is no scientific measurement or quantifiable scale to assess evidence. Reasonable doubt is not beyond all doubt but rather proof that is so convincing a reasonable person would not hesitate to rely and make a decision based upon the evidence.

Reasonable doubt is the highest standard of evidence. In other cases like personal injury suits, the burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence. When a reasonable doubt standard is applicable, it is not enough to establish a probability or strong possibility that an individual is more likely to be found guilty than not guilty. To satisfy a reasonable doubt standard, prosecution must demonstrate that a defendant's guilt satisfies a reasonable and moral certainty that the individual committed the crime.

Why Beyond A Reasonable Doubt Is A High Standard

There are particular reasons why beyond a reasonable doubt is a high standard. There are many cases where an innocent individual was wrongly accused and sentenced to a life sentence even though the individual did not commit the crime. By elevating reasonable doubt to a high threshold, lawmakers hoped to reduce the chances that innocent individuals would be charged with the commission of a crime. Reasonable doubt does not exist when an individual thinks someone probably committed a charge offense, an individual committed a crime, or even when it is highly probable that someone committed a crime.

The Role Of Reasonable Doubt In A Criminal Case

It must be understood that every individual in a criminal case is presumed to be innocent until that individual is proven guilty. A burden of proof lies on the prosecution to demonstrate that an individual is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

At the conclusion of a legal case, the decider of the facts (which can be either the judge or jury) must vote as to whether the prosecution has satisfied the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If prosecution is able to demonstrate that there is evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, an individual can be convicted of a crime. If prosecution, however, fails to meet this standard then the case will result in either a hung jury or a not guilty verdict.

How Experienced Legal Counsel Can Help


If you are involved in a criminal trial and believe that opposing counsel has failed to meet its standard of evidence, do not hesitate to retain the service of experienced legal counsel. Contact  Eversole Law LLC today to obtain the services of a skilled Birmingham criminal defense attorney who can create a strong defense that the evidence on hands does not extend beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

We serve the following localities:

Birmingham, Jefferson County including Bessemer, Homewood, Hoover, Irondale, Leeds, Mountain Brook, Trussville, and Vestavia Hills, Shelby County (including Pelham, Alabaster, Chelsea, Calera), Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Huntsville, Calhoun County including Anniston, Etowah County including Boaz and Gadsden, Cullman County including Arab and Cullman, Madison County including Huntsville and Madison, Montgomery County including Montgomery, and all of Alabama.

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