If youve ever participated in a debate online, youve probably come across the concept of the burden of proof. A person has the burden of proof when she makes an affirmative claimthat is, when she claims that something is true. The person with the burden of proof must provide evidence or logical arguments to support her claim. What you may not realize is that this concept isnt just a way for people to avoid making their own arguments on the Internet. In fact, if you file a lawsuit, youll have the burden of proof in your case. But in court, the concept is much more formal, and has been split into three distinct burdens: the burden of pleading, the burden of production, and the burden of persuasion.
1. The Burden of Pleading
The burden of pleading requires that any party that wants to prove something in a lawsuit must include it in his pleadings before he can introduce evidence to prove that its true. The pleadings are the initial written documents filed in a lawsuit. The plaintiff begins the lawsuit by filing a pleading called a petition or complaint. Shortly after receiving the petition or complaint, the defendant must respond by filing an answer. If you dont raise an issue in the pleadings, then the court wont accept any evidence about that issue.
2. The Burden of Production
The burden of production sets a threshold for when there is sufficient evidence for the case to be decided by a jury. The burden of production is met only when the evidence that you introduce is good enough for a jury to accept your allegations as true. That doesnt mean that the jury will accept the allegations as true, but if you fail to meet the low burden of production, the court wont even ask the jury to weigh the evidence. It will reject your claim on its own.
3. The Burden of Persuasion
The burden of persuasion refers to the standard that a jury will use in determining whether you have proven your case, and it varies based on the type of case involved. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove the defendants guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest burden of proof in the law. Under that standard, if the evidence doesnt eliminate all reasonable doubts from the jurors minds, then they must find the defendant not guilty. In most civil cases, the burden of persuasion is a preponderance of the evidence, which means that the evidence presented in the case makes it more likely than not that a partys claims are true. An alternative standard that is used occasionally in certain kinds of cases is that a party must prove its case by clear and convincing evidence. Though an imprecise phrase, this standard is higher than a preponderance of the evidence, but lower than beyond a reasonable doubt.
Just like in online arguments, if you can carry your burden of proof in court, you will also carry the day. But remember that the burden of proving your case in court is actually three different burdens, each of which must be met for you to prevail. If you fail to meet any one of the three burdens, you will lose your case. For more information on legal topics like this and more, The Bail Pros in Charlotte, NC are happy to help. They have a wide variety of knowledge on bail bonds, lawyers and how to get out of jail fast.