There is a higher standard of proof that is required in criminal cases as opposed to civil cases. In civil cases, it is only necessary to prove that one party has a greater level of evidence than the other party (even if that evidence is only slightly greater), or that the evidence shows a high probability that someone is guilty or liable. In contrast, criminal cases require that the defendant be proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." This means that there must be no evidence that could make the judge or jurors reasonably doubt whether the defendant actually committed the crime. This greater burden of proof is required because of the fact that criminal defendants are subject to penalties that are much more severe (such as penalties that affect their freedom) than the penalties faced by civil defendants.
If you are a criminal defense attorney, you will be looking for counter-evidence that clearly establishes reasonable doubt in your case. A few example of this counter-evidence includes the following:
- Evidence that suggests that the defendant was somewhere else at the time of the crime
- Findings of flaws in forensic evidence (such as contamination of DNA samples, mechanical errors with forensic testing equipment, etc.)
- Inconsistencies in testimony provided by the prosecution's witnesses
- Location of witnesses who can provide testimony favorable to the defense
- Expert testimony that challenges the prosecution's evidence or factual statements
This information can sometimes be difficult to track down without some outside help from a private investigator who is knowledgeable in the area of legal investigations. At Batza & Associates, Inc., we have licensed investigators who have plenty of experience helping attorneys find the evidence and information they need for their criminal cases. Our California legal investigative services team is here to help you build a strong case for your client. Contact us to learn more about the investigative services we provide!