reasonable doubt

noun

Legal Definition of reasonable doubt

: a doubt especially about the guilt of a criminal defendant that arises or remains upon fair and thorough consideration of the evidence or lack thereof all persons are presumed to be innocent and no person may be convicted of an offense unless each element of the offense is proved beyond a reasonable doubtTexas Penal Code — see also standard of proof — compare clear and convincing, preponderance of the evidence

Note: Proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is required for conviction of a criminal defendant. A reasonable doubt exists when a factfinder cannot say with moral certainty that a person is guilty or a particular fact exists. It must be more than an imaginary doubt, and it is often defined judicially as such doubt as would cause a reasonable person to hesitate before acting in a matter of importance.

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Cite this Entry

“Reasonable doubt.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/reasonable%20doubt. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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