Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: The Burden of Proof

The Burden of Proof in Criminal Cases If you or a loved one is charged with a criminal offense in Houston, TX, you may be wondering, “what type of defense do I need to prove to beat these charges?” Understand that the burden is not on you to prove your defense. The burden is on the Harris County District Attorney to prove – beyond a reasonable doubt – that you are guilty and a conviction is warranted. In Texas, the beyond a reasonable doubt standard is defined in Section 2.01 of the state’s Penal Code. It states: 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 doubt. The fact that he has been arrested, confined, or indicted for, or otherwise charged with, the offense gives rise to no inference of guilt at his trial. Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994. What does this mean? Basically, it means that only if you are sure, beyond all reasonable doubts, may you find a person guilty of a crime. If you have a doubt, and it is reasonable, your verdict should be not guilty. It is one of the most important concepts that exist for individuals charged with crimes. It corresponds with the long-standing legal principle that every person is innocent until proven […]