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Definition of Conviction

A conviction is the ruling judgment of guilt against a defendant. After the conviction the court or jury will sentence the defendant according to the sentencing guidelines. After a conviction the defendant may be given a sentence including fines, prison or other criminal reparations. For civil cases if the defendant loses their civil case they are required to pay money to compensate a victim for their injuries. Expenses which the defendant must pay may include medical costs, pain and suffering, lost wages and death benefits to surviving beneficiaries.

Prior to a conviction both parties in a case (the defendant and the plaintiff) have the opportunity to provide their evidence to the court. For criminal cases the state must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt to get a conviction, while civil cases have a much lower bar which is generally through a preponderance of evidence.

The civil and criminal trials must be conducted in a way which meets legal guidelines for a conviction to stand. If the legal guidelines are not followed during the criminal and civil cases the defendant, even if they are convicted, may make an appeal to a higher court.

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