What are Burdens of Proof?

There are numerous burdens in the legal system. When a police officer is acting within his or her capacity they are guided by two burdens – Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause.

What is Reasonable Suspicion?

Reasonable Suspicion is less than the legal standard to place someone under arrest for a crime, but more than a mere hunch. Reasonable Suspicion must be based on “specific and articulable facts”, taken together with rational inferences from those facts tied to a specific individual. If a police officer has Reasonable Suspicion that a person may be armed, the law allows an officer to “frisk” a person for weapons. A police officer only needs Reasonable Suspicion to stop a vehicle. For example, if an officer sees a vehicle fail to maintain a single lane of traffic, that officer can legally stop the vehicle for suspicion of driving while intoxicated or DWI.

What is Probable Cause?

Probable Cause is more than Reasonable Suspicion. Probable Cause is the standard for which a police officer may seek an arrest or search warrant or place someone under arrest. Probable Cause is the same standard for which a Grand Jury utilizes to arrive at the decision that a crime has been committed. If an officer has Probable Cause that a crime has been committed, he or she can place you under arrest. If you are arrested you need the assistance of an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer.

The burden of proof in all criminal cases is Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Section 2.01 of the Texas Penal Code provides that “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.”

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in Fort Worth or Tarrant County contact our legal team for a free case review.