If you have recently been charged with driving under the influence, or a related offense, in the State of Nebraska you are most likely concerned about the outcome of your case. As you may already know, a conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, puts your freedom and your future at risk. The only way to avoid that risk is to avoid a conviction. Unless the prosecution is prepared to dismiss the charges that mean taking your case to trial. At trial, the State of Nebraska will have to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. What does “ beyond a reasonable doubt ” really mean though?
.The term “beyond a reasonable doubt” is part of what our justice system is founded on in the United States. Our forefathers felt it was important to ensure that people were not punished, by the law, for crimes they did not commit. Therefore, the burden was placed on the prosecution to prove an accused’s guilt instead of on the accused to prove his innocence. This basic principal remains an important part of our legal system today.
Lawyer, judges, and scholars have tried to come up with a universal definition for “beyond a reasonable doubt” for as long as the standard has been used in criminal trials, yet a universally accepted definition remains elusive. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is the highest standard of proof used in our justice system. In a civil trial, for example, the standard used is “preponderance of the evidence” which requires much less to overcome than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in a criminal trial. Some have compared the two standards of proof and explained that a civil standard only requires you to be more than 50 percent certain whereas the criminal standard requires much more surety – somewhere in the neighborhood of 95 – 99 percent.
Beyond a reasonable doubt does not mean that all doubt must be removed before finding a defendant guilty. Therefore, the law does not require the prosecution to prove a defendant guilty beyond all possible doubt; however it is not sufficient to prove that the defendant is probably guilty. If you remain somewhat confused about exactly what the term “beyond a reasonable doubt means you are not alone. As a defendant the important thing to remember is that the prosecution must prove your guilt and must proving using the highest standard in our legal system.