What if there is no direct evidence of a crime?

UPDATED: Oct 15, 2013

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What if there is no direct evidence of a crime?

I live in a gated community. Recently there were 7 speed bumps put in. There are security cameras at the front gate. I was recorded spinning my tires on the speed bump and leaving a black tire mark on it. The POA had an officer come out and make a police report; now are telling me that I have to pay for all 7 speed bumps to be replaced. They have said they can have me arrested if I don’t. They only have proof of me for the one by the gate. The other 6 have marks of rubber as well and it is putting all the blame on me with proof of only one. They also have told me they have one other person spinning on the bump at the gate but are not doing anything about them.

Asked on October 15, 2013 under Criminal Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

To be convicted of a crime, proof "beyond a reasonable doubt"--or, if you like, evidence that it is 90% (more or less) likely that the accused did the act--is necessary. This does not require security video footage or eyewitness testimony, but can be gathered from other sources, such as comparison of the black marks on the other bumps with the black mark known to have been left by you. From what you write, it seems rather unlikely you could be convicted, but not impossible. So criminal charges and conviction are unlikely.

However, if you don't pay for the bumps, they may choose to sue you. In a lawsuit, much less evidence is necessary: the act must be proven just by a "preponderance of the evidence," or 50.1% likely that you did it. While it's not guaranteed they'd win if they sue you for the money, there is a reasonable chance, given the lower standard of proof, that they would.

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