G. Thayer Williamson Your Drug Crime Attorney

What is the burden of proof in a criminal case in Texas?

In Texas, the State has the burden of proof in a criminal case. The State's burden is to prove the Defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. What is the definition of beyond a reasonable doubt(BARD)? Our legislature has not provided us with a definition. BARD means whatever you believe it to mean. I can't tell you what BARD is, but I can tell what it is not!

The lowest burden of proof in our justice system is reasonable suspicion. A police officer needs reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime has been committed in order to detain an individual. In order to arrest, a police office needs probable cause. PC is the next highest burden of proof. After PC, the next highest burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. The preponderance of the evidence standard is used in civil cases where the parties are suing over a monetary dispute.

The second highest burden of proof is used in family case. This standard of proof is called clear and convincing evidence. For example: if the government wants to remove a child or terminate an individuals parental rights, the State must prove with clear and convincing evidence that the child is in danger or has been injured.

Most people would require a high degree of certainty before he or she would be willing to declare that a parent was unfit to care for their child. Proof BARD is even higher than that! Maybe one of these days our legislature will provide us with a definition. Until that happens, this is what we have to work with.

If you have any questions about a drug case, or a criminal case, please feel free to contact the Law Office of G. Thayer Williamson.