have the benefit of the doubt

have the benefit of the doubt

To be viewed in a favorable or neutral way when all information is not yet available, rather than being judged or criticized preemptively. You're my sister! Can't I at least have the benefit of the doubt, instead of you believing the worst about me straight away? Look, let's let him have the benefit of the doubt for now. There's probably a good explanation for all this.
See also: benefit, doubt, have, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, 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, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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