Burden of Proof in New Jersey Criminal Cases

Union County Burden of Proof Defense Attorney

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:1-13, before a person can be found guilty of a crime in New Jersey, the state must prove every single element of that crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is called meeting the burden of proof. Every crime is made up of several elements. The defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty so in order for a New Jersey defense lawyer to win, the prosecution must either fail to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt, or the defense attorney must introduce evidence that casts doubt on at least one of the elements. For example, a client recently came to me after being charged with Receiving Stolen Property in New Jersey. This crime has three elements: (1) the accused must receive property; (2) that belongs to someone else; and (3) with knowledge that it has probably been stolen. In order for the state to win, it must prove each one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. By introducing evidence which casts doubt on whether my client had the requisite knowledge to commit this crime, I was able to prevent the prosecution from meeting the burden of proof on the knowledge element. Since every single element was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges against my client were dismissed. This is one of the many ways I can defend against your charge in New Jersey.

Anthony N. Palumbo is one of the most aggressive and successful litigators in New Jersey. As a former county and municipal prosecutor, he knows how cases are perceived by the other side and can easily pinpoint defects in the prosecution's case. Contact Anthony N. Palumbo today for a free and confidential consultation at 1-866-664-8118 with no obligation.

Affirmative Defenses & Burden of Proof

An affirmative defense is different than an element. Disproving an element negates the fact that the defendant ever committed a crime, but introducing an affirmative defense means that the defendant did commit the crime, but he has an excuse for doing it (i.e. insanity). Like a crime, an affirmative defense consists of elements, and when the defendant seeks to prove an affirmative defense, he carries the burden of proof, not the prosecution. The defendant must prove each element of the defense, and it is the prosecution's job to cast doubt. The defendant only needs to prove the defense by a preponderance of the evidence, not a reasonable doubt. This is a lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt, and requires that when taking all evidence into consideration, it is more likely than not that the facts alleged are true.

New Jersey Statute 2C:1-13

Set forth below is N.J.S.A. 2C:1-13, the New Jersey statute for Burden of Proof, and it contains the legal language set forth by the New Jersey legislature on burden of proof laws in New Jersey. If you have questions about the statute below, you may call me at anytime for a free discussion on how the statute below relates to your charge. 1-866-664-8118.

New Jersey Burden of Proof

  • No person may be convicted of an offense unless each element of such offense is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In the absence of such proof, the innocence of the defendant is assumed.
  • What is stated in the paragraph above (subsection a.) does not
  • Require the disproof of an affirmative defense unless and until there is evidence supporting such defense; or
  • Apply to any defense which the code or another statute requires the defendant to prove by a preponderance of evidence or such other standard as specified in this code.
  • A defense is affirmative, within the meaning of subsection b.(1) of this section, when:
  • It arises under a section of the code which so provides; or
  • It relates to an offense defined by a statute other than the code and such statute so provides; or
  • When the application of the code depends upon the finding of a fact which is not an element of an offense, unless the code otherwise provides:
  • The burden of proving the fact is on the prosecution or defendant, depending on whose interest or contention will be furthered if the finding should be made; and
  • The fact must be proved to the satisfaction of the court or jury, as the case may be.
  • When the code or other statute defining an offense establishes a presumption with respect to any fact which is an element of an offense, it has the meaning accorded it by the law of evidence.
  • In any civil action commenced pursuant to any provision of this code the burden of proof shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

    New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer

    If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, I can assist you with your case. Contact me today and together we'll discuss the legal issues that you face and how we can build a hard-line defense strategy to defeat them. I will do everything in my power to make sure your freedom is protected. In the vast majority of my cases, I obtain extremely favorable results for my clients. This is why I am one of the foremost criminal defense lawyers in New Jersey.

    For an open and confidential discussion with an experience attorney, contact me today at 1-866-664-8118 for a free consultation at no obligation. I defend individuals throughout New Jersey including Essex County, Middlesex County, Hudson County, and Union County including the towns of Cranford, Elizabeth, Westfield, Plainfield, Linden, Clark, Garwood, Mountainside, Roselle, Roselle Park, Berkeley Heights, Fanwood, Summit, New Providence and Scotch Plains.