When people face a criminal charge in Illinois they can experience confusion along with fear and uncertainty. The confusion oftentimes comes from a lack of knowledge about court procedure in general, and the criminal justice system specifically. And, if you are facing a violent crime charge, your future is on the line.
In theory, the rights of a criminal defendant are supposed to be paramount in the criminal justice system. The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is usually seen as the bedrock of our justice system. But, how do we make sure that a defendant’s rights are protected? That comes from due process.
Due process overview
Due process may sound like a legalese term but, in terms of procedure, it is extremely important for criminal defendants. From a procedural standpoint, there are certain protections that must be followed to ensure that defendants receive the due process that the U.S. Constitution demands.
For example, in general, procedural due process should include the following: an unbiased court; notice of the charges and evidence in the case; the right to present witnesses and evidence; the right to question all witnesses, including adverse witnesses; the right to be represented by counsel; and a decision based solely on the evidence presented, among others.
There may be more issues in your case – every case is different. But every criminal defendant in Illinois has the right to due process, which can make a difference when you are facing the potential of years of incarceration for a violent crime charge. A failure to provide due process to a defendant may be a constitutional violation.