What Is a ‘Procedural Defense’ In Criminal Law?
When you are facing accusations, one of the essential things you can do is familiarize yourself with the numerous legal defenses that are available and the defense attorneys that are the best fit for you. Your attorney will assist you in reviewing your legal options and rights, including the types of defenses available to you, and apply them to the circumstances of your case.
Defining Procedural Defense
Procedural defenses are arguments that the legal process itself is invalid or unjust. The concept of guilt or innocence is separate from procedural defenses in criminal trials. Their main argument is that the suspect’s right to a public trial was infringed because they were never mentioned in any of the proceedings.
The accused has rights under the law, including the presumption of innocence until guilt is established, the right to just and public trials, the right to be present at trial, the right to a prompt trial, the right to cross-examine witnesses, and the right to access all relevant evidence. The right to disclosure of evidence is in addition to these other protections.
Any defense that has to do with the defendant’s treatment by the court system is considered procedural and is under the jurisdiction of criminal procedure. Justifications for such defenses typically focus on charges of abuse or misconduct in the judicial process rather than questions of guilt or innocence of the defendant.
The American criminal justice system was painstakingly designed to meet the goals of providing criminals with justice that is fair, timely, and economical. The state rights of defendants and the principle of the presumption of innocence were established to protect defendants from being wrongfully convicted and unfairly treated by prosecutors and to ensure that defendants have a fair and reasonable opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.
Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is not always as smooth as one would want. The defendant’s counsel can rely on procedural defenses if there has been courtroom misconduct or unconstitutional activity by the government, the prosecution, or the jury. A defendant might use these arguments to accuse the legal system of wrongdoing.
Evidence may be suppressed on the grounds of procedural law if, for example, the defendant testified without the presence of an attorney or if the evidence was obtained via torture.
Procedural Defense Examples
Some frequent procedural defenses include:
- Double jeopardy – When a defendant makes this claim in court, they allege that they have been wrongfully prosecuted for the same crime by the government on several occasions. Additionally, they are claiming that these prosecutions have been done excessively.
- A speedy and fair trial – It is how the defendant sidesteps the claim that the state took an abnormally long time to bring their case to trial and instead sidesteps the accusation by arguing that the state took way too long to bring their case to trial.
- Entrapment – It is a legal argument in which the defendant contends that the government pressured them into committing the crime in a certain way.
- The applicable time limit for filing – Defenses in which the defendant asserts that the court failed to charge them within the statutory term for offenses they claim they committed is a common defense in criminal cases in the United States, particularly terrorism and other serious crimes involving significant numbers of violent offenders on the U.S. mainland. In this type of defense, the defendant claims that the court failed to charge them within the statutory term for the offenses they claim they committed.
- Immunity – Immunity is a claim that the defendant’s acts do not influence the criminal proceedings being brought against them. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, a defense of immunity is when a defendant asserts that they are exempt from prosecution.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Procedural-based defenses are notoriously difficult to uphold since they require the justice administrators to concede that their behavior was unjust. Regardless, they are essential tools in the field of criminal defense and act as a protection against abuses of constitutional rights that are done by people who are in positions of authority.
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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.