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Photo Of Kyle B. Sawyer

Charged With A Crime? It Doesn’t Mean You’re Guilty.

The Standard or Burden of Proof in Colorado Criminal Charges

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2012 | Courts |

Denver Defense Attorney and the Burden of Proof

The Standard or Burden of Proof in courts for criminal charges like Assault, Battery, Theft or Sexual Assault on a Child in Denver, Arapahoe, Larimer, or Douglas County in Colorado, is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Standard of proof refers to the degree, or amount of proof, which must be presented by the government to support a conviction. In criminal trials, jurors are instructed to use a standard known as “beyond a reasonable doubt”, to determine guilt. However, judges will use different standards during preliminary or motions hearings to make other kinds of decisions related to the case.

Adams County Preliminary Hearing Criminal Lawyer

In a preliminary hearing “evidence is weighed in the light most favorable to the prosecution”, and a judge is looking for probable cause that you committed the offense. He or she does not need to be convinced that the defendant committed the crime, but that there is some evidence that would support a finding of guilt. This standard is not used to determine guilt, but to determine if a case should move forward to District Courts in Weld, Adams and Jefferson County.

What Are the Elements Involved in a Preliminary Hearing?

Preponderance of the evidence is mostly used in civil cases, and means that a juror has to be convinced that an asserted truth is more likely than not (greater than 50%). This is the lowest level of certainty and is used in civil courts determine who wins their case. This standard is also used by judges in criminal cases regarding the admissibility of evidence.

Clear and convincing standard is also used in civil cases, but only where there are greater things of importance at stake, like parental rights. C.R.S. 19-3-604. A “clear and convincing” standard is greater than 50% likelihood, but is not as great as “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Beyond a reasonable doubt – For a defendant to be convicted of a crime in Colorado, a judge or jury must use this highest standard of proof. The definition of reasonable doubt is spelled out in Colorado Jury Instructions for criminal cases 3:04. It states “reasonable doubt means a doubt based upon reason and common sense which arises from a fair and rational consideration of all the evidence, or the lack of evidence, in the case. It is a doubt which is not vague, speculative or imaginary doubt, but such a doubt as would cause reasonable people to hesitate to act in matters of importance to themselves.”

If you or someone you care about is facing criminal charges in Colorado, call us. Our attorneys are experts in making sure prosecutors prove their cases “beyond a reasonable doubt”. If not, the jury should be reminded of the requirement they vote for acquittal, or “not guilty”. So, if you are charged with a crime, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.