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    The level or degree of proof necessary to find a defendant guilty.

    Missouri Press-Bar Commission. “News Reporter’s Legal Glossary” (2009)

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    The required level for proving a case in court. In criminal cases the prosecution must prove their case by leaving no reasonable doubt about the defendant’s guilt. This is known as proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. In civil (non-criminal) cases, the plaintiff must prove that their argument is more likely to be true than false. This is known as proof ‘on the balance of probabilities’. See also balance of probabilities, beyond reasonable doubt, civil action.

    Victoria Law Foundation. “Legal glossary” (2015)

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    The minimum amount of evidence that must be shown to win a case. There are several different burdens of proof. The two most common are: (1) “by preponderance of the evidence” (more than 50% likely) in civil cases; and (2) “beyond a reasonable doubt” (almost 100% likely) in criminal cases.

    Colorado Bar Association. “Glossary of Legal Terms”

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    The degree to which a party must establish the existence of certain facts or circumstances in order to prevail in a legal proceeding.

    Drogin, Eric Y., et al. Handbook of forensic assessment: Psychological and psychiatric perspectives. Vol. 209. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.

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    There are varying requirements of proof in different kinds of judicial proceedings. In criminal and delinquency cases, the offense must be proven beyond a reason-able doubt. In neglect and dependency proceedings, and in civil cases generally, the standard of proof is by a preponderance of the evidence, a significantly lower standard which requires that the judge believe that it is more likely than not, on the evidence presented, that neglect occurred. In some states, the standard of proof in PINS cases and in abuse and neglect proceedings is by clear and convincing evidence, a standard more stringent than preponderance of the evidence and less demanding than beyond a reasonable doubt.


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    There are essentially three standards of proof applicable in most court proceedings. In criminal cases, the offense must be proven BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, the highest standard. In civil cases and neglect and dependency proceedings, the lowest standard applies by a mere PREPONDERANCE OF THE EVIDENCE, (more likely than not). In some civil cases, and in juvenile proceedings such as a permanent termination of parental rights, an intermediate standard applies, proof by CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE.

    California Superior Court. “English Legal Glossary” (2005)