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standard of proof: the level of certainty and the degree of evidence necessary to establish proof in a criminal or civil proceeding [the standard of proof to convict is proof beyond a reasonable doubt] see also clear and convincing , preponderance of the evidence compare burden of proof clear and convincing evidence at evidence , reasonable doubt NOTE: Preponderance of the evidence is the least demanding standard of proof and is used for most civil actions and some criminal defenses (as insanity). Clear and convincing proof is a more demanding standard of proof and is used in certain civil actions (as a civil fraud suit). Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the most demanding standard and the one that must be met for a criminal conviction.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.