Course: Introduction / Policing
Preponderance of the Evidence is an evidentiary standard in civil cases where the party to a case with the most compelling (convincing) evidence wins.
Preponderance of the Evidence is an evidentiary standard used in civil cases to determine the outcome of a lawsuit. It is a lower standard of proof than the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, who must prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the plaintiff must show that their version of the facts is more likely than not to be true.
In a civil trial, the judge or jury weighs the evidence presented by both sides and decides which side has met the burden of proof. The decision is based on the greater weight of the evidence. If the plaintiff has presented more convincing evidence than the defendant, the plaintiff will win the case. If the defendant has presented more convincing evidence, the defendant will win the case.
Preponderance of the evidence is also used in administrative hearings and certain criminal cases, such as juvenile delinquency proceedings. In these cases, the government must prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence rather than the higher criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
One of the advantages of the preponderance of the evidence standard is that it is easier for plaintiffs to win their cases. This makes it more likely that individuals who have suffered harm or been wronged will be able to receive compensation or justice. However, it also means that some cases may be decided based on a slight margin of evidence.
On the other hand, some critics argue that the preponderance of the evidence standard can be too low and may result in unjust outcomes. For example, a defendant may be found liable for damages even if there is only a slight chance that they caused the harm in question. Additionally, the standard can be difficult to apply in cases where the evidence is conflicting or unclear.
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Last Modified: 04/08/2023