benefit of the doubt, to give/have the

give the benefit of the doubt

Regard someone as innocent until proven otherwise; lean toward a favorable view of someone. For example, Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's right. [Mid-1800s]
See also: benefit, doubt, give, of
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

benefit of the doubt, to give/have the

To assume or treat as innocent when there is conflicting evidence. The term comes from the law in many countries, whereby a person must be assumed to be innocent of a crime unless definitely proved to be guilty; in other words, when in doubt, the verdict must be “not guilty.” The expression began to be used figuratively for all kinds of situation in the nineteenth century.
See also: benefit, give, have, of
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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