Legal Dictionary

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Burden of Proof

The burden of proof refers to the requirement that the prosecution must convince a judge or jury that each element of the crime against the defendant has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt and that the defendant is guilty. If the burden of persuasion is not satisfied, the State will lose the case. The burden of proof rests entirely with the prosecution. The defense in a criminal trial has no burden of proof – it does not have to prove anything. In criminal cases, the prosecution's burden of persuasion or burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Burden of proof is used interchangeably with the term “burden of persuasion.”