One of the most commonly uttered phrases in the world of criminal defense is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” Although many readers may hear this phrase on a regular basis, it may not be clear just how weighty a phrase it really is.
In any criminal proceeding, prosecutors have the burden of proof. As a result, their case must clearly demonstrate that defendants have committed the act they are accused of. Even if there is a shadow of a doubt that a person plausibly may not be guilty, then a conviction shouldn’t be reached.
This issue could come into play in an ongoing felony driving under the influence case in South Carolina. Authorities have accused a 23-year-old man of getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated and causing a single-car accident that killed one of his passengers. Even though the judge assigned to the case has denied bond for the accused man, the accused individual maintains that he was not driving the car at the time of the crash.
According to the defendant, he was at a club with the other people who were in the vehicle. While at the club, the passenger who passed away in the crash said that she would drive the group home. It’s reported that the defendant cannot recall events that occurred after this statement was made.
Based on the statements the accused man has made, it will be the responsibility of prosecutors to demonstrate that he was driving the vehicle if they would like to secure a conviction. At the same time, the defense team may need to seek evidence that corroborates the defendant’s testimony or suggests that there’s a definite chance that he is correct.
Given the stringent penalties prescribed by South Carolina law for felony DUI charges, a strong defense will be necessary to ensure fairness. After all, no one deserves to be convicted for crimes they did not commit.
Source: Fox Carolina, “Suspect says he wasn’t driving in I-26 crash that claimed teen’s life,” Dal Kalsi, June 16, 2014