In a criminal trial, the burden of proof is on the government. Defendants do not have to prove their innocence. Instead, the government must provide evidence to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt. The standard of proof in a criminal trial gives the prosecutor a much greater burden than the plaintiff in a civil trial. The defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means the evidence must be so strong that there is no reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.


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Crimes such as drug conspiracies and firearm offense are prosecuted in federal courts.

Felony and misdemeanor crimes are prosecuted in district courts.

Traffic infractions and minor crimes are prosecuted in municipal courts.

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