One of the most important bedrocks of the United States criminal justice system is that every person must be considered innocent until proved guilty. The U.S. Constitution guarantees that the presumption of innocence is every defendant’s fundamental right. Nevada law also makes clear a defendant cannot and should not be convicted unless a prosecutor in a criminal case has met the burden of proof.
The presumption of innocence means that when you are charged with a crime, you don’t have to prove that you did not commit the crime- the prosecutor has to show you did violate the law. You can avoid conviction even if you do not present a single word of defense if the prosecutor is not able to convince a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed every element of the criminal offense you have been charged with.
While this presumption of innocence provides you with very important protections, it does not mean you should just sit back and hope the prosecutor fails to do his or her job. You still want to be strategic in how you approach a criminal trial in which you have been accused of wrongdoing. LV Criminal Defense is here to help. Our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys provide you with help exploring the different arguments you can make and the evidence you can present to try to introduce reasonable doubt. Give us a call as soon as you can following an arrest so we can get to work on assisting you in making the jury doubt the evidence the prosecutor presents.
Nevada law details the rules for presumption of innocence in its code section dealing with Conduct of Trial. According to N.R.S. 175.191, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of all criminal charges brought against him until guilt has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt whether the prosecutor was able to satisfactorily show the guilt of the defendant, the defendant is entitled to be acquitted of all charges.
The reasonable doubt standard does not require a prosecutor to show with 100 percent certainty that a defendant definitely committed the crime. It does mean that the prosecutor has to provide convincing enough evidence that the judge or jury deciding the case would rely and act upon the truth of the case the prosecutor put forth. A consideration of all evidence must lead the jurors to make up their mind that they feel an abiding conviction that the defendant violated the law.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
For prosecutors to meet this burden, they have to prove each element of a particular criminal act and convince the jury of the likely truth of each element. In a robbery case, for example, the definition of robbery is the unlawful taking of someone’s property using force or fear, in the presence of the property owner, against the property owner’s will. If the prosecutor proved property was taken against the owner’s will but did not prove that force or fear was used, the jury should not convict because the prosecutor didn’t prove all elements of the crime.
There are a number of different ways to try to introduce reasonable doubt and to get a jury to acquit in a criminal case. The best arguments to make and defenses to raise will vary based on the situation. For example, in a drunk driving cases, a defendant could try to make it difficult for the prosecutor to prove intoxication by raising questions in the mind of the jury about whether blood or breath test results were inaccurate.
Since your defense strategy and efforts to introduce doubt need to be custom-tailored to you, it is a smart choice to get skilled legal representation from a Las Vegas criminal lawyer. Nick Wooldridge, Esq is here to help, so give us a call today if you’ve been accused of breaking the law.