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Burdens of Proof in Florida Cases

A burden of proof is the threshold of proof that a plaintiff must meet to win his case. There are three burdens of proof in Florida.

Preponderance of the Evidence

Preponderance of the evidence means that “the fact to be proven is more probable than not” to have happened. This is the lowest burden of proof. Preponderance of the evidence is the standard that is used in the administrative DUI hearings. Preponderance of the evidence is the standard that is often used in civil cases.

Clear and Convincing Evidence

Clear and convincing evidence means, “a firm belief or conviction” that an event has occurred. This standard is also used commonly in civil cases. Clear and convincing evidence is used in several types of civil claims, including administrative hearings, habeas corpus, and some fraud claims. For clear and convincing evidence, the plaintiff must show that it is substantially more likely than not that his/her version of the events is true.

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

The highest burden of proof in any court proceeding is proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.” When a person stands trial, the jury must begin with the assumption that the accusations against the defendant are false. This is called the presumption of evidence. To reach the burden of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the State must prove the case to such a degree that there is an abiding conviction of guilt.


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