Reasonable Doubt - The Thin Line Between Innocence and Not Guilty
Unanimously, I think we can agree that there are many misconceptions about the law and how it works. A perfect example of this uncertainty is the legal standards behind “guilty” and “not guilty” verdicts. Many people hear the phrase “not guilty” and immediately think that it means innocent. In the American justice system, that’s not exactly true—the line between guilt and innocence is known as “reasonable doubt,” and it’s the most important factor in any criminal trial.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
We’ve all heard this phrase but what does it really mean? One of the most incredible things (and maybe most overlooked!) aspects of the American justice system is that a person doesn’t have to necessarily prove their innocence in a criminal case. It’s actually the prosecution side that has to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to land a conviction. In other words, if the prosecutor cannot remove all doubt from the circumstances surrounding a crime, then the judge and jury may not have enough evidence to find the defendant guilty—even if they aren’t 100 percent sure of the defendant’s innocence.
For the sake of illustrating this law, let’s imagine an Uber driver. Alex had worked a hard, long shift on Saturday night in the bar district of Midtown. He gets up Sunday morning for his normal routine of gym and coffee, but a cop pulls him over for failing to fully stop at stop sign. As the police officer is doing her casual interrogation, she sees a baggie of cocaine on the backseat floor. Of course, Alex explains that he doesn’t do hard drugs, has never seen this bag and it probably belonged to a drunk passenger last night. The cop hears none of this and arrests him anyway. Now, the case goes to trial and because the state of Texas requires that the accused knowingly possessed the illegal drug, Alex’s attorney rightfully defends his story in court pointing out that he’s an Uber driver and even calls in one of his passengers as a witness. Through great defense work and despite the drugs being in his car, the jury now has beyond enough reasonable doubt that Alex knowingly possessed the cocaine.
Once reasonable doubt has been established, it’s easy to see how a seemingly damning case could be proven fallible. Thiessen Law Firm is there to walk you through how to get the strongest defense pronto.
How Reasonable Doubt Wins DWI Cases
Because DWI charges are largely based on quantitative evidence like test results, many people mistakenly think that there’s no use in fighting the charges in court. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are a lot of things that could go wrong with DWI testing methods, and within these flaws, plenty of room for reasonable doubt. As a lawyer scientist, I possess both the scientific and legal knowledge necessary to undermine the prosecution and create the reasonable doubt necessary to win a “not guilty” verdict. Here are just a few of the factors that could be used in court to create reasonable doubt:
- Time of Driving Rule: In the state of Texas, it is necessary to prove that one was actually intoxicated while driving in order to convict for a DWI. Say that a cop were to find you asleep in your car in a parking lot, test your blood alcohol content and come back with a .12, the right lawyer could use science to back your case and prove that you might not have been intoxicated during the time you were really operating the vehicle. This is one of many other probabilities of reasonable doubts to land a “not guilty” verdict.
- Faulty Tests: As unfortunate as it may be, some Texas lab workers have no problem playing it fast and loose during their lab work—sloppy testing that oftentimes jeopardize other people’s future in the process. When factors such as insufficient or outdated equipment stand in between a person and their freedom, a lawyer-scientist could fault the prosecution to establish reasonable doubt.
- Retrograde Extrapolation: Did you know that there is a delayed time span between when alcohol affects you and your blood stream? It’s called retrograde extrapolation, and it’s a very important factor in evaluating for a DWI. For example, in the circumstance of a person who gets into a car accident shortly after drinking, it’s plausible that this person might not have drunk yet at the time of the incident. Though seemingly complicated to prove, it is possible to defend and establish reasonable doubt.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DWI—or any other criminal offense, you need knowledgeable, experienced defense on your side. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or call 713-864-9000 to start fighting your charges now.