procedural defense | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Procedural Law

A procedural defense is a legal defense strategy that challenges the procedures and processes used by law enforcement during an investigation, arrest, or trial to protect an individual’s constitutional rights.

Procedural defenses are based on the idea that law enforcement must follow specific procedures and rules when conducting investigations, making arrests, and presenting evidence in court. If law enforcement violates these procedures or infringes upon an individual’s constitutional rights, the evidence obtained may be excluded from trial, and the charges against the defendant may be dismissed.

Common examples of procedural defense include challenging the legality of a search or seizure, questioning the validity of a confession or statement made by the defendant, and challenging the reliability of witness testimony.

Procedural defense can be an effective strategy for protecting the rights of individuals and ensuring that law enforcement is held accountable for their actions. However, it is important to note that procedural defense does not necessarily challenge the underlying facts of the case, and it may not be successful in all situations.

To mount a successful procedural defense, a defendant must work closely with their defense attorney to identify potential procedural violations and develop a strategy for challenging them in court. This may involve filing motions to suppress evidence, challenging witness testimony, and arguing that the charges against the defendant should be dismissed due to procedural errors or constitutional violations.

Procedural defenses are a critical tool for protecting the constitutional rights of individuals who have been accused of a crime. By holding law enforcement accountable and ensuring that they follow proper procedures and rules, procedural defense helps to ensure that the criminal justice system operates fairly and justly for all individuals.

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Last Modified: 03/13/2023


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