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Prosecution in Maryland Criminal Cases
If you have been accused of committing a criminal offense in Maryland, the following is what you need to know about how cases are prosecuted and what evidence will likely be presented. To learn more and begin building your defense, call and schedule a consultation with a Maryland criminal lawyer today.
What Does The Prosecution Need to Prove in Court?
The prosecution has to prove every element of a crime beyond reasonable doubt. Crimes in Maryland are broken down into elements, which are the individual things that the prosecution has to prove. For example, for a theft case, the prosecution has to prove that there was a taking with the intent to deprive the owner of the lawful use or possession of that property. This means they have to prove that an individual took the property and their intent was to not let the owner have that property. So if an individual had something in their pocket that they did not know about, the prosecution would not be able to prove that the intent element was present in that case. Every crime in Maryland has its own elements and the prosecution has to prove each of those elements beyond reasonable doubt.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
“Beyond reasonable doubt” is the highest standard of proof that exists in the American legal system. It means that a reasonable person could not believe otherwise. Another way to put it is that looking at these facts, the hypothetical reasonable person would have to come to the conclusion that this incident actually took place with this intent.
How Does The Prosecution Prove Their Case?
The prosecution will typically prove their case through either the officer’s testimony or a victim’s testimony. They may also seek to introduce some kind of scientific evidence such as hair samples, DNA, or fingerprints or through the introduction of photographic and video evidence or some kind of business record. It really depends on the nature of the charge. Consequently, the prosecution is going to have a very different method of proving a financial fraud case than they would in proving an assault case.
Do Prosecutors Collect All This Evidence?
It depends on the nature of the evidence. If it’s scientific evidence, it will be gathered during the course of a police investigation and sent off to a lab for analysis. If it is testimonial evidence, the prosecutor will summon the individual who has to testify and ask them questions on the stand. If it is a business record, then they will subpoena the record and get it admitted into court under the business record exception to the hearsay rule.
Who Does The Prosecutor Need To Convince?
The prosecution has to convince the trier of the fact, which can either be the judge or the jury. The media or anybody else is completely irrelevant to the prosecution’s efforts to prove a criminal case. The prosecution only has to convince either the judge or the jury, depending on who is hearing the case, beyond a reasonable doubt of all the elements of the case.