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Top 10 Criminal Procedure Articles
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Top 10 Criminal Procedure Articles

To avoid violating constitutional rights, everyone in the criminal justice system must follow a set a rules known as criminal procedure. For example, these rules specify when the police can perform a search of a person’s house and when criminal evidence can be presented in court.

As a starting point for understanding how the rules of criminal procedures protect your rights, here are the Top 10 Articles on Criminal Procedure Law from the LegalMatch Law Library.

1. Speeding or Moving Violation Car Search

An important thing to remember is that when you are pulled over for a moving violation (such as speeding), the police officer usually cannot search your car unless you agree to the search of if the officer has probable cause. Probable cause can be anything from seeing that the driver is under the influence to seeing an empty beer can on the floor.

2. Juvenile vs. Adult Criminal System

There are many advantages if you are tried as a juvenile rather than an adult. If you are a juvenile, you are less likely to receive a harsh sentence and the court is much more focused on rehabilitation. Courts are usually more willing to place the juvenile in programs that are designed to assist and help the juvenile in reforming.

3. Voluntary Confessions

When you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent. However, if you do decide to talk and give a confession, as long as the confession was voluntary, your confession can be used against you. If you did not confess voluntarily, then there is a possibility that your confession cannot be presented in court.

4. Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. It is the reason why the police cannot enter a person’s home unless they have a warrant or unless the person in the house lets them in. It also prevents the police invading your privacy in places where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

5. The Trial Phase of a Criminal Trial

There are four phases to a criminal case. Each phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

6. Stop and Frisk Laws

Stop and frisk laws are controversial as they disproportionally target minorities. At times, if conducted improperly, they can violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights. If you are stopped for a search, make sure you know the limitations of what the officer can do.

7. Out of State Arrest Warrants

As long as there is a warrant out for someone, they can be arrested in almost any state in the United States. Even if the arrest warrant was from Texas and the person is found in Florida, he or she can be arrested in Florida and extradited back to Texas to stand trial.

8. Fleeting or Evanescent Evidence

Fleeting or evanescent evidence is an issue usually brought up in warrantless searches. The police do not need a warrant to take custody of evidence that has an immediate danger of disappearing or being destroyed. This allows them to take the blood samples of people they believe are driving under the influence, confiscate phones with incriminating information that can be quickly deleted, and take possession of drugs that could potentially be discarded.

9. Forensic Evidence: The Reliability of DNA Testing

At many trials, DNA evidence is allowed and it is up to both the prosecution and defense to convince the jury that each of their interpretations of the evidence is what is true. When it comes to criminal procedure, depending on how the DNA was obtained, the defense attorney might be able to get the evidence thrown out because a defendant’s constitutional rights were violated by police action.

10. Criminal Retrial

If a retrial is granted, the court system treats the initial trial as if it had never happened. Retrials are usually only granted when there has been an extremely serious error or mistake in the original trial.

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Law Library Staff

  • Jessica Tam

    LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor

    Attorney at Law