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.

Learn More about reasonable doubt

Share reasonable doubt

Comments on reasonable doubt

What made you want to look up reasonable doubt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!