Due process guarantees the rights and protections of all citizens in the legal system. Due process is designed to produce fair decisions when you’re in court.
Finding yourself in a situation where you may be required to understand due process can be stressful and overwhelming. However, learning more about due process can help you be more informed and understand your rights.
What Is Due Process?
Due process protects your right to a fair hearing in a legal proceeding. Due process requires that decisions made during a court proceeding be reached in an impartial way. Prejudice and implicit bias held by the judge and jury cannot be used to impact decision-making in a legal proceeding.
What Is Procedural Due Process?
Procedural due process protects you when the government deprives you of life, liberty, and property. When this happens, you must be given notice, an opportunity to be heard, and a decision by a neutral decision maker. This helps to ensure that the legal process is fair and not based on opinions rooted in prejudice.
What Is Substantive Due Process?
In addition to due process guaranteeing your rights in court proceedings, substantive due process also protects your fundamental constitutional rights. This means that states are prohibited from passing laws that violate some of your constitutional rights, including freedom of religion and expression.
Substantive due process requires that the government not infringe on some of the most fundamental rights of citizens. When laws are enacted or actions are taken, it must be reasonable and necessary to protect the public.
Why Is Due Process Important?
If you are involved in a legal matter, due process acts to protect you from biased decisions in your case. This is designed to create fair outcomes regarding your innocence, guilt, or liability.
When individuals are charged with a crime, they have the right to defend themselves. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This allows defendants to avoid being punished for crimes that they have not yet been convicted of.
How To Protect Your Rights
Being pulled over or hearing a knock on the door from police can be terrifying. It is important to remember that you have rights. Understanding your rights can help you spot police misconduct and protect you from self-incrimination.
Take the following steps to protect yourself when dealing with law enforcement:
- Exercise your right to remain silent
- Do not answer questions that you are not required to by law
- Request to speak with an attorney
- Speak only after consulting a criminal defense attorney
- Do not give consent for a search
- Ask if there is a valid search warrant
- Decline a search if there is not a valid search warrant present
Interacting with law enforcement can be scary at times. It is helpful to have an understanding of your Fourth Amendment rights when being pulled over or police arrive on your porch.
The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable searches and seizures conducted by the government.
The following are the types of searches and seizures that might be considered unreasonable:
- Searches in a home without a warrant
- An officer stopping someone and making unreasonable inquiries when there is not a suspicion of criminal conduct occurring
- Searching a car without probable cause
- Conducting a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion that a traffic violation has occurred or that criminal activity is in progress
If an officer asks to search or seize your property, you should politely decline the request until a valid search warrant is obtained.
Contact a San Jose Criminal Defense Lawyer if Your Due Process Rights Were Violated
It is important to speak with a lawyer immediately if you believe that your due process rights were violated.
An experienced attorney can do the following for you:
- Investigate your claim that your due process rights were violated
- Review the facts of the case
- Gather information and evidence
- Determine if there was a violation of your due process rights
- Provide sound legal advice
If your due process rights were violated, hiring a skilled attorney can help you get the justice you deserve. You may be able to hold the at-fault party accountable through administrative hearings or a civil lawsuit. If your due process rights were violated, it is important to take action as soon as possible.
Questions regarding due process often arise in criminal cases. If you are facing criminal charges, it is imperative that you consult with a criminal defense attorney.
A good criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system by doing the following:
- Provide you guidance with the legal process
- Represent you in court
- Advocate for you
- Help you file appeals
- Pursue post-conviction relief remedies
Your criminal defense lawyer can provide you with the support you need as you navigate the process of successfully dealing with criminal charges.
Due process is an essential component of achieving fairness for everyone within the legal system. If you feel your due process rights were violated, contact an experienced San Jose criminal defense attorney at Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law to schedule a free consultation.