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What is due process in a criminal case?

There is a lot to think about if you are being investigated for or charged with a crime. One of the most crucial things to understand is due process.

Have you ever heard about police in other countries picking people off the street without explanation, throwing them into jail and leaving them there? That is the sort of thing that due process is meant to prevent.

Due process under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments

The inclusion of due process in the U.S. Constitution was crucial to prevent the states from depriving people of liberties that are granted under federal law.

The United States and its legal system must treat you fairly and abide by the rules of due process if the police suspect you of a crime. Here are some things you can expect as part of due process:

  • The right to legal representation
  • The right to a fair trial
  • The right to know what evidence the prosecution presents against you
  • The right to submit your own evidence
  • The right to cross-examine witnesses and call your own
  • That the court will only use the evidence presented to decide your case
  • That the court will keep written records of your trial and verdict

Both federal and state courts must adhere to such procedures. If your right to due process is violated, the charge against you may be reduced or dismissed.

There are many legal theories for defending against criminal charges. However, to defend successfully against a charge, you will need an experienced defense attorney with a thorough knowledge of the laws, your rights and all available defense options.

For more on related matters, please see our previous posts:

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