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The Power of a Burden of Proof in Defending Against a Criminal Charge

Posted by Steve Karimi | May 04, 2016 | 0 Comments

If you have been charged with a crime and you are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system, it can feel overwhelming. A lot happens, and the fact that your future is at stake is beyond stressful. Sometimes, when you are feeling like there is no hope, it is important to know that facing a criminal charge is an uphill battle for the prosecution and for law enforcement, too. In fact, if you are currently facing a criminal charge, but have not yet been through a trial, it is important to remember that it is not up to you show that you are innocent – rather, it is up to the prosecution to show that you are guilty. This is the burden of proof.

The Burden of Proof

In a criminal case, or any lawsuit, or even in any argument, one side has the burden of proof. They are the side that has to show that they are the ones that are right. The other side, the one without the burden of proof, can sit back, listen to their argument, and poke holes in it. In fact, the side without the burden of proof can sometimes win the argument without even saying anything – they can simply point out that the side with the burden of proof did not answer all of the issues in the argument.

As a result, in a criminal case, the fact that the prosecution has the burden of proof is no small matter. They have a lot of bases to cover over the course of the trial in order to prove that you were guilty of the crime you are being charged with.

An Example of the Power of the Burden of Proof – Culpable State of Mind

To fully understand just how important a burden of proof is in a criminal case, think of how most of the crimes require you to have a culpable state of mind in order for them to be committed. Whether they require that you act intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently, the prosecution has the burden of proving that this was the case.

This is not easy. It forces a prosecutor to try to glimpse into your mind to see what is going on there at the time of the alleged crime. Prosecutors are merely human, so they cannot read your mind any better than someone else can. Instead, they have to rely on the actions you took and what you said during the event to show what was going through your head. If they cannot effectively prove that these outward signs show that you had a culpable state of mind, then you will not be found guilty of the crime.

Criminal Defense Attorney Steve Karimi

Experienced criminal defense attorneys like Steve Karimi know how to use the prosecutor's burden of proof to the advantage of those charged with a crime. By fighting for your rights in court, Steve Karimi challenges every aspect of a prosecutor's case, making it difficult for them to satisfy their burden of proving that you are guilty of the crime you are being charged with. Call his law office in Seattle at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.