Legal Presumptions

Legal presumptions are generally procedural. Michler v. Krey Packing Co., 253 S.W.2d 136, 140 (Mo. 1952). They are usually evidentiary devices used in criminal and civil cases. Tupper v. City of St. Louis, 468 S.W.3d 360, 370 (Mo. 2015). They place the burden upon the party denying their truth to produce evidence. Id.
“[T]he facts which give rise to the presumption remain in the case and are to be considered with other evidence for whatever probative value they may have.” Id. A presumption itself usually cannot be regarded as evidence. Connizzo v. General American Life Insurance Co., 520 S.W. 2d 661, 665 (Mo. Ct. App. 1975).

There are other, more “severe” presumptions. Specifically, there are “conclusory, or irrebuttable, presumption[s] that [establish] a fact such that it cannot be overcome by additional evidence or argument. Tupper, 468 S.W.3d at 370. These are much more rare. Most presumptions are rebuttable. The amount of evidence that must be presented to rebut the presumption affects whether the presumption shifts the burden of production or shifts the ultimate burden of persuasion. Id. at 370-71.

Scroll to Top