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Burden Of Proof In Civil Trials

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Unlike most criminal trials, where the prosecution must prove the defendant committed a crime with clear and convincing evidence or beyond a reasonable doubt, civil cases have a lower standard of proof known as preponderance of the evidence. For example, if you were sued and the plaintiff alleged you trespassed onto their property, they would only need to prove it was more likely than not that you trespassed, not that it was absolutely certain. Some judges have explained this standard of proof by using this football analogy: In a criminal trial, the prosecution would need to run the entire field and score a touchdown to get a guilty verdict. In civil cases, the plaintiff would only need to cross the 50 yard line.

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