Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

What is Criminal Procedure?


Criminal procedure is the adjudication process used in criminal law. A criminal procedure process most often starts with a formal criminal charge. It usually ends with the conviction or acquittal of an accusation. There are rules that must be followed to protect a defendant's or suspect's rights and rules that dictate how the court will process a criminal case. These rules protect the constitutional rights of individuals to make sure all stages of the criminal procedure process are conducted fairly. Individuals accused of breaking the law are presumed innocent until proven guilty when they are going through the criminal procedure. The state prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect or defendant committed the crime.

During criminal procedures, you need to make sure your constitutional rights are protected. You should always contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are not violated during this process. These protections often include the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects your rights of privacy. This amendment limits how law enforcement can conduct a search of your house, property, or physical person. It prevents you from unreasonable searches and seizures. This does not mean that a police officer can never search your property or physical person.

A reasonable search can be performed when it is conducted according to the law. The police officer must satisfy two things to complete a search. He or she needs to establish probable cause. Probable cause happens when the evidence, facts, or incident leads the police officer to believe a crime has happened or is occurring at the time. The officer's knowledge and expertise should direct him or her in deciding a probable cause situation. He or she needs to have a search warrant that is issued by a judge. However, under certain circumstances, a search warrant may not be needed.

Another constitutional right you have during a criminal procedure is your right to an attorney. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ensures you have the right to an attorney when you are arrested. You have the right to a fair trial, as well. This amendment gives you the right to have your attorney present during all important and critical stages during a criminal prosecution, such as an interrogation or questioning, hearing, or arraignment. Your attorney can help you better understand your rights and develop a defense plan to determine your innocence. Criminal procedure includes all events from the arrest of a suspect to the verdict or appeal. It may include the following:

  • Search and Seizure

  • Arrest

  • Stop and Detention

  • Evidence

  • Plea Bargaining

  • Booking/Filing a Charge

  • Assigning a court-appointed attorney

  • Gathering of suspects for case

  • Identifying eyewitnesses for case

  • Trial

  • Sentencing

  • Appeal

  • Probation & Parole

When a criminal procedure is violated, it can impact your case or trial. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you and your family with legal advice that will protect your constitutional rights and may help reduce your punishment. He cares about you and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.