FindLaw Legal Dictionary
The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.
reasonable doubt n
a doubt esp. about the guilt of a criminal defendant that arises or remains upon fair and thorough consideration of the evidence or lack thereof [all persons are presumed to be innocent and no person may be convicted of an offense unless each element of the offense is proved beyond a reasonable doubt "Texas Penal Code"] see also standard of proof compare clear and convincing, preponderance of the evidence NOTE: Proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is required for conviction of a criminal defendant. A reasonable doubt exists when a factfinder cannot say with moral certainty that a person is guilty or a particular fact exists. It must be more than an imaginary doubt, and it is often defined judicially as such doubt as would cause a reasonable person to hesitate before acting in a matter of importance.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.