Moral Certainty Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Moral Certainty, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Moral Certainty?
(n) Moral certainty is the conclusion which can be arrived after considering the evidence available that the defended is guilty of the crime. Moral certainty is the state of belief one can arrive after applying a reasonable doubt on the matter under consideration.
History and Meaning of Moral Certainty
Moral certainty is a term used in criminal trials by jurors to indicate their degree of belief that a defendant is guilty of a crime. It is not the same as proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the burden of proof in a criminal trial. Instead, moral certainty is a lower standard that allows jurors to convict a defendant if they are convinced of their guilt based on the evidence presented.
Examples of Moral Certainty
- After hearing all the testimony and reviewing the evidence, the jury reached a verdict of guilty with moral certainty.
- The prosecutor argued that the defendant's guilt was established with moral certainty, despite a lack of physical evidence linking them to the crime.
- The defense attorney argued that the prosecution failed to meet the standard of moral certainty and that the defendant should be acquitted.
Legal Terms Similar to Moral Certainty
- Beyond a reasonable doubt - the higher standard of proof required for a criminal conviction.
- Clear and convincing evidence - a standard of proof used in civil trials that is higher than preponderance of the evidence but lower than beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Preponderance of the evidence - the standard of proof used in civil trials that requires a plaintiff to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant's conduct caused their harm.