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What is Due Process in St. Mary’s County, Maryland Criminal Cases?

In Maryland criminal cases, people often hear how criminal defendants have a right to “due process.” But what do those words actually mean for those accused of crimes here in St. Mary’s County or in other parts of southern Maryland? The courtroom-proven Maryland criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Robert Castro provide this practical, real-world explanation of “due process.” Due process helps you avoid being convicted, and if you are convicted, due process can help you get a new trial if you make a post-conviction appeal. Call us at (301) 705-5137 if you have been arrested or charged. We are available around the clock, 24/7. Here is some additional detail on the practical meaning of “due process.”

In Maryland criminal cases, due process is about

  • Procedures that the courts and police must follow
  • Those procedures (and laws) being applied the same every time
  • Being applied the same to each and every person arrested
  • Having an impartial judge and jury
  • Everyone having certain constitutional protections (such as not being tortured into making a confession)
  • And more

Due process applies to the police, to the courts, and to the Maryland criminal incarceration departments. If the police violate your due process rights in collecting evidence, then the evidence can be excluded from your criminal trial. In this way, you can beat the charges and walk free. If the courts violate due process, then on appeal, you could get your conviction overturned. This will give you a new trial. If the jail/prison system violates your due process rights, you may be able to get courts to require corrective actions and even sue for monetary damages.

Let’s look at some examples. Due process requires that everyone be free from unreasonable searches and seizures (of property, personal papers, etc.). Under a legal doctrine called the Exclusionary Rule, if the police conduct a search and seize evidence in violation of due process, then such evidence will be excluded from use at your Maryland criminal trial. With that evidence excluded, you are more likely to go free and not be convicted. As another example, when you are arrested, the police must read you your Miranda rights. The Miranda rights are about the right to remain silent and have an attorney. Here again, if the police fail to read you your Miranda rights, evidence may be excluded from use at your trial, and you may avoid conviction.

With respect to the courts, due process requires various hearings and procedural steps (such as being informed of the charges). If you do not get your hearings and other process, you can appeal and get a new trial. The judge must also be impartial and not exhibit a bias against a Maryland criminal defendant. If there is bias, then any conviction can be appealed, and the accused may receive a new trial.

There are many other examples, but these should be sufficient to identify the importance of due process. Due process is one of the foundational Constitutional principles being protected by both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the federal Constitution, both of which use these words: one shall not be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

Contact Waldorf, Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer at (301) 705-5137. We are Waldorf, MD, Criminal Defense lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD, 20601.