criminal proceedings | Definition

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

Criminal proceedings are the legal process that is followed when an individual is charged with a crime.

They involve a series of steps and procedures that are designed to ensure that the accused person receives a fair and impartial trial and that justice is served.

The criminal justice process typically begins when a law enforcement officer investigates a crime and gathers evidence. If the officer believes that there is sufficient evidence to charge the suspect with a crime, they will arrest the suspect and file criminal charges. The suspect is then brought before a judge, who will determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the suspect committed the crime. If the judge determines that there is probable cause, the suspect will be formally charged, and criminal proceedings will begin.

Criminal proceedings may involve several stages, including pre-trial proceedings, a trial, and post-trial proceedings. Pre-trial proceedings may include plea bargaining, in which the accused person and the prosecution negotiate a plea agreement in exchange for the accused person’s guilty plea. If the case goes to trial, a judge or jury will hear evidence from both sides and decide whether the accused person is guilty or not guilty. The judge will impose a sentence if the accused person is found guilty. After the trial, either side may appeal the decision to a higher court.

Criminal proceedings are governed by rules of procedure and evidence, which are designed to ensure that the accused person’s rights are protected and that the trial is fair and unbiased. They are an important part of the criminal justice system and play a crucial role in ensuring that justice is served.

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Last Modified: 01/09/2023


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