It is enshrined in the Constitution that an individual must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the commission of the crime before a conviction can be meted out and punishment imposed. There is no exemption to this rule and that includes DUI cases.
In criminal cases such as DUI, the prosecution is burdened to present proof as to the existence of the element of the crime that was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest form of proof known in law and is defined as proof that leads the jury with a conviction that all the allegations are true and the evidence presented leaves no possible doubt that crime was actually committed.
At trial, the accused is allowed to cross examine all the evidence presented by the prosecution to establish its case. In this case, the finder of fact, the jury must find that all the evidence presented proves beyond a reasonable doubt as the guilt of the accused. In the State of California, the following is given as an instruction to each juror or the jury as a whole on the matter of reasonable doubt:
“A defendant in a criminal action is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved, and in case of a reasonable doubt whether [his] [her] guilt is satisfactorily shown, [he] [she] is entitled to a verdict of not guilty. This presumption places upon the People the burden of proving [him] [her] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reasonable doubt is defined as follows: It is not a mere possible doubt; because everything relating to human affairs is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. It is that state of the case which, after the entire comparison and consideration of all the evidence, leaves the minds of the jurors in that condition that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction of the truth of the charge.”
In simple terms, all individuals accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is a doubt as to the veracity or if the evidence presented leads to two or more conclusions, this means proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt is not reached. Once there is a reasonable doubt, the jury is instructed to find the individual innocent of the crime charged.
In essence, reasonable doubt is not just simple doubt but such doubt where the entire appreciation of all the evidence presented would leave in the minds of the jurors the ability to reach a conclusion as to the actual commission of the crime charged.
In order to be properly advised and guided on the steps towards facing this kind of legal problem, then call the DUI Attorneys of the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.