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Reasonable Doubt A reasonable doubt is a doubt based on reason and common sense arising out of some or all of the evidence that has been presented, or lack or insufficiency of the evidence as the case may be. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is proof that fully satisfies or entirely convinces you of the defendant’s guilt.

Legal Reference Materials:  NC Judicial College Jury Instructions Notebook Materials

Modified Transcript of “Reasonable Doubt in Charlotte” for the Hearing Impaired:

The last prong of burden of proof that the state has to satisfy is reasonable doubt, and that’s just like you’ve seen on Matlock or Law and Order.

If you take all of the elements of the offense and then you take all of the admissible evidence and throw it in either in the lap of a judge sitting as a jury of 12 or an actual jury of 12, we have to make a determination as to whether or not the state has proven all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Now, this is different than the other things that we’ve spoken about because when we speak about reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or criminal procedure as a whole, those are things that are very legal in nature, they’re very procedural in nature. Reasonable doubt is a factual argument. We are taking all of the causal arguments, not assessing them, because those have already been assessed in the procedural arguments. We are taking all of the legalese things that often times attorneys will look at outside of the jury’s presence, and ignore them at this point.

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Now, we are looking at whether the driving element of the offense can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, whether the, while, part of DWI can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and lastly whether or not the impairment end of things can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

As we spoke about earlier with respect to DWI and that impairment prong, that reasonable doubt can come in a couple of different ways, either by satisfying that accurate 0.08, and I will always say that just because the machines says 0.08 does not necessarily means it’s accurate, but if somebody’s blood alcohol content can be deemed accurately to be 0.08, or if somebody is actually impaired with less alcohol or another impairing substance.

These are all things that have to be satisfied for the state to convict you of DWI.

It’s very interesting when we think about all of these arguments. They are exclusive to a degree. This can be a situation where somebody has a very accurate 0.20 blood alcohol content, but they were pulled over for an unconstitutional reason.

We can also have a situation whereby somebody is pulled over for a very legitimate reason. The arrest went absolutely by the book, and they get downtown and they blow, and whether or not it’s over or under 0.08, we still may have an argument as to whether this person can be convicted of DWI. It’s important that we look at everything.

I will never argue that it is the most complicated thing in the world. We’re not splitting atoms here, but at the same time, we do have to look at every aspect of one before we make any concession as to somebody’s guilt.

Bill Powers
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Bill Powers has been listed in 2015 SuperLawyers North Carolina Magazine. In calendar years 2012, 2013 & 2014, SuperLawyers further included Bill in the “Top 100” Lawyers in North Carolina. In 2013 Bill was listed as “Top 25 in Charlotte” by SuperLawyers North Carolina.

For Membership Information & Criterion for Inclusion to SuperLaywers North Carolina see: https://www.superlawyers.com/north-carolina/lawyer/Bill-Powers/ccf452c7-eeb6-4f0e-98e4-337804e043e8.html

Powers Landreth, pllc in 2015 has been again listed as a “Best Law Firm” by U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. For Member Info & Criterion for Inclusion see: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/profile/powers-mccartan-pllc/overview/44550

In 2015 Bill Powers has been included in Best Lawyers of America. For membership info & criterion for inclusion see: https://www.bestlawyers.com/lawyers/bill-powers/78562/

Bill Powers has also been listed in “Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers in North Carolina” by The National Trial Lawyers. For member info & criterion for inclusion see: https://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/profile-view/Bill/Powers/5071/

See Also:  Pattern Jury Instructions – LEGAL REFERENCE MATERIALS – REPLACEMENT AFTER 2011

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Bill Powers
Founding Partner at Powers Landreth PLLC