Meeting the Burden of Proof in San Diego Courts

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The “burden of proof” may be one of the most important aspects of a lawsuit. The burden of proof in a lawsuit refers to the obligation that a party must prove the elements of what they are claiming. Many of us have heard of the “burden of proof” as it pertains to law. However, very few people truly know what the burden of proof requires in law. First, it’s important to note that every state has a different definition or standard of burden of proof.
Burden of Proof under California Law
In California, the burden of proof is different depending on whether the lawsuit is being filed in civil court or criminal court.
Civil Cases:
In civil lawsuits, the burden of proof is originally on the plaintiff (the party suing) and then the burden can be shifted to the defendant (the party being sued) as the trial goes on. For civil cases, there are two different standards of proof to use depending on the issue of the case.

Once a plaintiff has presented enough evidence to satisfy the burden of proof, the burden of proof then shifts to the defendant. The burden of proof is then on the defendant to prove that he either did not act at all or acted differently than what is being alleged. The burden of proof can continue to shift throughout a case until one party is unable to meet the burden.

Criminal Cases:

In criminal cases, the defendant is always presumed innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, the burden of proof does not shift from one party to another during criminal trials. Many people call the burden of proof standard in criminal cases, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”


If the plaintiff fails to prove even one element of the claim being asserted, the defendant does not need to prove anything.

If you are having troubles navigating a case through the court system, Hariri Law Group is here to help. Our experienced personal injury and employment attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have regarding the burden of proof or any questions regarding your specific case. Seeking a licensed professional will increase the chances of a positive outcome resulting from your case.


Hariri Law Group is based out of San Diego county, but we have knowledge and expertise in all of California law.

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