Clear And Convincing Evidence Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Clear And Convincing Evidence, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Clear And Convincing Evidence?
It is the standard of evidence that has to be met to prove that a person has commited a crime.In civil cases standard of evidence required is called “preponderance of evidence” and in criminal cases it is called ‘beyond a reasonable doubt”.
History and Meaning of Clear And Convincing Evidence
Clear and convincing evidence is a legal term that describes the level of evidence required to prove a fact in court. In civil cases, the standard of evidence is typically "preponderance of the evidence," which means that the evidence must be more likely than not to support the claim being made. In criminal cases, the standard of evidence is "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is a much higher standard. Clear and convincing evidence is a middle ground between these two standards.
Clear and convincing evidence is sometimes used in cases where a person's liberty is at stake, but the prosecution cannot meet the higher standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. For instance, in cases involving child custody or guardianship, clear and convincing evidence may be used to prove that one parent is more suitable than the other.
Examples of Clear And Convincing Evidence
In a case of defamation, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant made a false statement that injured the plaintiff's reputation. To prove defamation, the plaintiff would need to provide clear and convincing evidence that the defendant made the false statement with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.
In a case involving termination of parental rights, the state may need to show clear and convincing evidence that the parent has abused or neglected the child.
In a case involving a will contest, the person challenging the validity of the will would need to present clear and convincing evidence that the testator was not of sound mind at the time the will was executed.
Legal Terms Similar to Clear And Convincing Evidence
- Preponderance of the Evidence - This is the standard of evidence in most civil cases, which requires the evidence to be more likely than not to support the claim being made.
- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - This is the standard of evidence in criminal cases, which requires the evidence to be so strong that there is no reasonable doubt about the defendant's guilt.
- Probable Cause - This is the level of evidence required to make an arrest or conduct a search. It requires more than a hunch or suspicion but less than clear and convincing evidence.