Criminal Procedures

Crime is Committed

If a crime has been committed the accused or defendant will be arrested by the police. The arrest is generally a result of the police witnessing a crime or investigative work that they have done. Prosecutors at the federal and state level can initiate the criminal process.

Protections for the Accused

The defendant is protected at the federal and generally the state level with Constitutional protections. These rights include:

  • the right to remain silent
  • the right against unlawful searches and seizures
  • the right to counsel
  • the right to face his accuser
  • the right against harsh and unusual punishments

These Miranda Rights must also be read to the accused prior to questioning if they are being questioned in a police environment.

Probable Cause

In order to place someone under arrest there must be probable cause to believe a person has engaged in illegal activity. Information regarding probable cause may be gathered by a variety of methods including surveillance, or the testimony of a police witness.

If probable cause is present a judge can issue either a search warrant or an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant can be issued to arrest a particular person for a particular crime. A search warrant can be issued for the search of business or person's home to look for particular illegal objects or activity. In certain circumstances a search warrant may not be needed for the police to conduct a search.

Criminal Law Term of the Day


Immunity means a person will not be held legally responsible for crimes they committed.

Category: Criminal Law

Question of the Day

I am not able to complete drug treatment plan. Is this a parole violation?

Drug treatment programs may be offered by your state. Talk to your parole officer for more information.

Category: Criminal Law

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