Procedural Steps In A Criminal Trial

1221 words - 5 pages

Every society is faced by a fundamental problem of achieving social control that protects people’s lives and properties as well as establishing desirable levels of order, accord, security and courtesy in the society. Societies, therefore, have developed informal methods of attaining this control where family structures, norms and religious precepts are included. Law is established in contrast as a formal method of social control. Law is then said to be a set of rules that is prescribed and implemented by government to regulate and protect the society. Certain forms of behavior are prohibited and penalties are imposed to those engaging in the barred conduct. The branch of law illegalizing ...view middle of the document...

A criminal trial is only necessitated by a plea of not guilty. A trial is a formal procedure that determines whether the accused is guilty or innocent and imposes punishment to them if found guilty.
As defined by John (2010, p.16), criminal trial is a process that is highly formal and is governed by procedure and evidence rules comprising the following steps. Firstly, investigation is conducted in which search and seizure, and arrest is done. Secondly, formal charging process is done. Arraignment then follows where a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered. Trial is then implemented resulting to conviction or acquittal. In case of conviction, the process then moves to a step of sentencing. This leads to the next step of punishment. Sentencing can also lead to appeals process in case the accused requires revision of the trial (John, 2010).
Search and seizure
As John, (2010, p.429) argues, when evidence is looked in a manner that penetrates the zone of privacy which is legally protected, it is termed as search and should be conducted by government agents only. A seizure occurs when the control of persons or property is taken by the agents. Since searches and seizures commonly involve serious invasions of confidentiality, the authority to conduct them is limited by constitutions. It is important, therefore, law enforcement agents get a warrant ahead of conducting any searches and seizures. There are some warrantless searches and seizures permitted but they should obey the rules to a standard of responsibility. Arbitrary searches are not permitted at all cost (John, 2010).
Arrest
Arrest can be defined as the act of taking persons to custody following a warrant. A warrantless arrest can also be conducted if law enforcement agents examine someone committing an offence or if they have a credible cause to believe one has committed or was committing a crime. As indicated by John (2010, p.482), some of the conditions that lead to warrantless entries with aim of arresting include credible reason to arrest the suspect, if there is good reason confirming the suspect is in doors, if there is justification that the suspect is armed and dangerous, if there is a strong likelihood of a suspect escaping or destruction of evidence, and lastly, if crime committed is a severe felony. Force should not be used in making arrest. However, if a suspect resists an attempt to detention, law enforcing agents are allowed to use force, which, may be challenged in case of damages (John, 2010).
Formal charging step
This requires that accused person be given a fair notification of charges and enough time to contest those charges.
Arraignment
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