Legal Dictionary

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Beyond A Reasonable Doubt

“Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the burden of proof that the prosecution must carry in a criminal trial in order to obtain a “Guilty” verdict. In other words, the jury in a criminal trial will be given jury instructions that direct them to find the defendant guilty only if the prosecution has proved his or her crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is a higher standard than the standard used in civil trials, which is a “preponderance of the evidence.” Beyond a reasonable doubt is often likened to making a determination to a moral certainty.