What is the Standard of Proof in a DUI Case?

In Ohio, the standard of proof for every criminal and traffic case is the same. That standard is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It doesn’t matter whether a person is charged with speeding or aggravated murder, the prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard applies to every single element of every crime charged. So, if a person is charged with DUI in Columbus, the prosecutor has to prove all of the elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

What is “proof beyond a reasonable doubt?” The definition in Ohio of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is “proof of such character that an ordinary person would be willing to rely and act upon it in the most important of his own affairs.”

In any DUI trial, it is critical that the members of the jury, beginning in jury selection, understand that the proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard not only applies, but is the highest criminal standard of proof under the law. The standard proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard is one of the safeguards that our nation has to protect the innocent from wrongful conviction, even if it means that sometimes the guilty go free. Merely suspecting or thinking that it’s likely or even probable that a person is guilty of DUI is not enough for a conviction.

Skilled DUI lawyers know just how critical it is for a jury not only to understand, but to appreciate and apply, this standard in a drunk driving trial and to hold the prosecutor to their burden. If you or a family member has been charged with DUI in Columbus, contact a skilled lawyer by calling (614) 454-5010.

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