Alternative-Means Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Pursuant to the alternative-means doctrine, the jury must be unanimous on the defendant’s guilt but not unanimous as to the means used to commit the crime, as long a each possible way is supported by substantial evidence. It is well settled that in an alternative means case a criminal defendant does not have the right to a unanimous jury determination as to the particular means used to carry out a crime. However, in order to safeguard the defendant's right to a unanimous verdict as to the crime, substantial evidence of each of the relied on alternative means must be presented.