standard of proof

Legal Definition of standard of proof

: the level of certainty and the degree of evidence necessary to establish proof in a criminal or civil proceeding the standard of proof to convict is proof beyond a reasonable doubt — see also clear and convincing, preponderance of the evidence — compare burden of proof, clear and convincing evidence at evidence, reasonable doubt

Note: Preponderance of the evidence is the least demanding standard of proof and is used for most civil actions and some criminal defenses (as insanity). Clear and convincing proof is a more demanding standard of proof and is used in certain civil actions (as a civil fraud suit). Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the most demanding standard and the one that must be met for a criminal conviction.

Learn More about standard of proof

Cite this Entry

“Standard of proof.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/standard%20of%20proof. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Comments on standard of proof

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

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!